April 25, 2023

Four Federal Agencies Issue Cautionary Warning on Use of AI

You may have read my articles in January and March of this year describing two federal agencies’ warnings about employers’ use of artificial intelligence (AI). The trend continues.

On April 25th, four federal agencies issued a joint statement on “Enforcement Efforts Against Discrimination and Bias in Automated Systems.”

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a technical assistance document explaining how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to the use of software, algorithms, and AI to make employment-related decisions about job applicants and employees.
  • The Federal Trade Commission issued a report evaluating the use and impact of AI that outlines concerns that AI tools can be inaccurate, biased, and discriminatory by design and serve as invasive forms of commercial surveillance.
  • The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, which enforces anti-discrimination practices in employment, recently filed a statement of interest in federal court explaining that the Fair Housing Act applies to algorithm-based tenant screening services. The same could apply to an employer using AI to screen applicants.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may consider employers’ practices related to using background checks (consumer reports) that may disparately impact individuals seeking or maintaining employment.

If you think you are not using AI in any of your employment practices, consider this
. The EEOC’s describes just some covered practices. “There are many different types of software and applications used in employment, including: automatic resume-screening software, hiring software, chatbot software for hiring and workflow, video interviewing software, analytics software, employee monitoring software, and worker management software.” Click here to read more and talk to your company’s legal counsel, AI service provider, and/or internal programmers.

AI is impacting our employees’ and our own lives, too. Even as I write this article I watch as my laptop anticipates my next word and proposes to fill in the rest of my sentence. New technologies arguably limit and enhance employment opportunities where it replaces work previously done by humans, and may generate new opportunities.  I found this related article in HBR interesting, “5 Ways to Future-Proof Your Career in the Age of AI.”