BNSF Railroad to pay $228M to truck drivers for violating Illinois state law

A federal jury in Chicago has ordered one of the nation's largest railroads to pay nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to thousands of truck drivers for violating their privacy rights.

The jury found the BNSF Railroad flaunted Illinois' law protecting your biometrics information.

"All I ever wanted was justice for the over 45,000 truck drivers and myself," said Richard Rogers, one of 45,600 truck drivers who were part of the class action lawsuit.

After a one-week trial, a jury on Wednesday ordered the BNSF Railroad to award those truck drivers a total of $228 million for violating their privacy rights "by taking their biometrics, their fingerprint scans, without giving them informed consent," said Attorney Jon Loevy, who filed the lawsuit.

Under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, passed in 2008, companies must get written permission before obtaining biometric records like fingerprints, iris scans and face scans.


The class action lawsuit says truck drivers were required to scan their fingerprints to enter any of BNSF's four Chicago area facilities, but they weren't telling people they were going to maintain it in a database.

"They weren't telling people they were gonna maintain it forever. They were supposed to purge it. They weren't doing that, and most importantly they weren't asking people for consent," said Loevy.

In a statement, a spokesman for BNSF said: "We disagree with and are disappointed by the jury's verdict, and think the decision reflects a misunderstanding of key issues. We will appeal."

That $228 million award works out to exactly $5,000 for each of the truckers in the class action lawsuit.