Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving and constantly shifting landscape, especially for employers desiring to streamline employment decisions. AI allows an employer to streamline the decision-making process, such as screening candidates for interviews based on job-related qualifications, monitoring job performance, and determining pay or promotions. When used properly, AI can save a company time and money. When used improperly, it may cause the company to violate federal law. Although, currently, there are no federal laws specifically governing AI usage, employers who use AI in business decisions may still be liable under existing federal laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published several technical assistance documents providing guidelines for employers to implement AI in compliance with Title VII and the ADA. (See: https://www.eeoc.gov/)
Pursuant to these guidelines and established federal laws, an employer may not discriminate in any employment decision based on a person’s age (over 40), disability, race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, or genetic information (collectively a “protected characteristic”). Business decisions based on AI data place employers at risk of liability, which, intentionally or unintentionally, discriminate against a person based on a protected characteristic. An employer may be held liable for violations of Title VII or the ADA, even if a third-party administers the AI.
The bottom line for using AI in your workplace is to be cautious, careful, and always question how it is being used. Even if you rely on a third-party to administer AI you, as the employer, are responsible for how it affects your business. When utilizing AI in making business decisions, it is a best practice to regularly audit the data AI gives your business to ensure it does not violate existing federal laws.
If you have any questions, please contact HR Partners at 785-233-7860.