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Employers Beware: The EEOC is Monitoring Use of Artificial Intelligence

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Earlier this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a webinar on artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. Commissioner Keith Sonderling explained that the EEOC is monitoring employers' use of such technology in the workplace to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws. The agency recognizes the potential for AI to mitigate unlawful human bias, but is wary of rapid, undisciplined implementation that may perpetuate or accelerate such bias. Sonderling remarked that the EEOC may use Commissioner charges--agency-initiated investigations unconnected to an employee's charge of discrimination--to ensure employers' are not using AI in an unlawful manner, particularly under the rubric of disparate impact claims. The EEOC's interest in this topic is not new.


Brave New World: The EEOC's Artificial Intelligence Initiative

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The use of artificial intelligence ("AI") and machine learning in the workplace is growing exponentially – and specifically in hiring. Over the last two decades, web-based applications and questionnaires have made paper applications nearly obsolete. As employers seek to streamline recruitment and control costs, they have jumped to use computer-based screening tools such as "chatbots" to communicate with job applicants, to schedule interviews, ask screening questions, and even conduct video conference interviews and presentations in the selection process. Employers of all sizes are creating their own systems, or hiring vendors who will design and implement keyword searches, predictive algorithms and even facial recognition algorithms to find the best-suited candidates. The algorithms in these computer models make inferences from data about people, including their identities, their demographic attributes, their preferences, and their likely future behaviors.


Artificial Intelligence Bias Needs EEOC Oversight, Official Says

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Artificial intelligence tools in hiring have so far remained unregulated by U.S. civil rights agencies, despite growing use and potential discrimination risks. One EEOC official wants that to change. "What is unfair is if there are enforcement actions or litigation, both from the government and from the private sector, against those who are using the technologies, and the federal agency responsible for administering the laws has said nothing," Keith Sonderling, a Republican commissioner on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, told Bloomberg Law in an exclusive interview. The use of artificial intelligence for recruitment, resume screening, automated video interviews, and other employment tasks has for years been on the radar of federal regulators and lawmakers, as workers began filing allegations of AI-related discrimination to the EEOC. Attorneys have warned that bias litigation could soon be on the horizon.


Council Post: AI Can Be A Force For Good In Recruiting And Hiring New Employees

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President & CEO of BBB National Programs, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a more accountable, trustworthy marketplace. It is one of the biggest conundrums of our time: businesses posting record numbers of available jobs and not being able to fill them. As with most intractable problems, there are multiple forces at play, with one involving the role of technology. Kathryn Dill at the Wall Street Journal recently wrote (paywall): "Companies are desperate to hire, and yet some workers still can't seem to find jobs. Here may be one reason why: The software that sorts through applicants deletes millions of people from consideration."


Opinion: Artificial intelligence is changing hiring and firing

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The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on bangordailynews.com. Keith E. Sonderling is a commissioner on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.The views here are the author's own and should not be attributed to the EEOC or any other member of the commission. With 86 percent of major U.S. corporations predicting that artificial intelligence will become a "mainstream technology" at their company this year, management-by-algorithm is no longer the stuff of science fiction. AI has already transformed the way workers are recruited, hired, trained, evaluated and even fired. One recent study found that 83 percent of human resources leaders rely in some form on technology in employment decision-making.