On Friday, July 21, users of the “married dating” website, ashleymadison.com, received preliminary approval of an $11.2 million class action settlement. This settlement seeks to resolve a number of consolidated lawsuits against Avid Life Media, some of which also named the owners and operators of the website. This settlement will conclude all the civil claims against Avid Life Media and a number of individually named owners and operators of the business arising from the data breach that brought the website to heightened notoriety in 2015. This $11.2 million class action settlement is separate from the Federal Trade Commission’s $1.6 million settlement with Ruby Corp., Avid’s parent company, which resolved charges that customers had been misled, not only with regard to the retention of private information, but also with regard to alleged fake profiles of female users made to attract new users.
Employers are increasingly using biometric data such as facial characteristics, hand geometry, retina/iris scans, fingerprints and voiceprints in the workplace. Biometric data can be used to establish records of employee hours, to restrict access to specific areas, computer systems, data or devices, to provide security and to promote employee health, including through wellness programs.
Applicant background reports can be vital tools for employers, especially in the hiring process. However, amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) significantly increase the rights of applicants and employees to receive certain disclosures and to choose whether to authorize certain background reports. Given the increase in litigation over these issues, employers (as well as their attorneys and investigators) are well-advised to pay close attention to the detailed requirements of the FCRA.