EEOC Reportedly Investigating AI Bias Claims

November 01, 2019

“The EEOC is investigating at least two cases involving claims that algorithms used to help make hiring, promotion, and other job decisions unlawfully discriminate against certain groups of workers,” per Bloomberg.

In 2016, the EEOC took a close look at artificial intelligence in employment related decisions in a public hearing.  Commissioner Victoria Lipnic said at the hearing, "It can be a challenge to determine whether, when, and how laws may apply in our increasingly technology-driven workplaces.  But I see this at the core of our responsibilities: Ensuring that our understanding of today's workplaces and our interpretation and administration of the law, are as current and fully-informed as possible.

States are just beginning to look at AI in HR.  Illinois’ new Artificial Intelligence Video Act, which goes into effect January 1, 2020, places requirements on companies to provide notice, obtain consent, maintain confidentiality, and provide an explanation of the technology when employing artificial intelligence to analyze video interviews.   A new initiative in California is drawn along similar lines.   Meanwhile, one employment-related bill, which has received scant support, has been submitted in the U.S. Congress.

Looking ahead:  The details of the purported EEOC cases remain to be seen, as the agency itself has not reported on them.  With legislation in its nascent stages, and despite recent and future Congressional hearings elevating the issue’s profile, the courts will likely be where the issue initially plays out as employers attempt to create diverse and inclusive workforces.