If You’re Using Artificial Intelligence to Interview, Hire and Fire People–Be Very Careful
Artificial intelligence is here, and it can help our businesses in a number of ways. One way it is helping, is by weeding out potential employees, and making hiring and firing decisions for employers.
But if your business is using or may use in the future, artificial intelligence in employee-related decisions, be wary, because you could find yourself unknowingly discriminating.
Computers Don’t Understand Discrimination
The art of understanding what discrimination is and is not, is still one that computers aren’t yet equipped to make. As a result, the factors that a computer using AI makes, may end up discriminating against employees or potential hires.
For example, a computer using AI may find that an employee with a disability is not as qualified for a job, or that a current employee with a disability is not “working as hard” as other employees. It may disqualify a potential hire because of speech issues, not understanding that the speech problems are a result of a disability.
Errors in AI Analysis
People with disabilities may have uneven or inconsistent work histories, caused by medical events or medical procedures or other consequences of their disability. This doesn’t make them unreliable, or less motivated—but the computer may not understand that, and may not suggest hiring someone based on an uneven or inconsistent work history.
The computer doesn’t understand how productivity may be altered or affected by reasonable accommodations, or of the requirement to adjust certain work productivity expectations based on accepted legal disabilities. It may suggest against hiring someone who can’t type as fast, not understanding that the person may type perfectly, with the assistance of technology or assistive devices intended to assist those with disabilities.
AI can even monitor employee behavior in the workplace. It may count frequent bathroom or rest breaks against an employee—without recognizing the employee is pregnant, or has a back injury, or has PTSD, or a bladder problem, all of which are protected by federal and state disability laws.
Software that analyzes video interviews, to check for employees that look a certain way, may mark down employees who may have tics, scarring, or disabilities, which affect their ability to present or speak the way the AI thinks that an “ideal” candidate should do.
AI may simply perceive that based on the business, hiring people of a given race, gender, weight, or class, may be best—without realizing that this kind of decision making is discriminatory and illegal.
Government Makes Businesses Liable
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is aware of the problem of discrimination in AI-based employment decisions, and is currently warning businesses that they shouldn’t just rely on AI in making employment decisions.
The EEOC has said that it will hold businesses’ liable for the discrimination made by its computer or AI programs. That makes businesses’ ultimately responsible to ensure that the systems and AI they run and rely upon, are not discriminatory.
Call our Fort Lauderdale business lawyers at Sweeney Law P.A. at 954-440-3993 today for help making safe decisions for your business.