There has been an increase in the use of automated systems in employment decisions such as recruitment, hiring, monitoring, and firing of employees. In a hearing called “Navigating Employment Discrimination in AI and Automated Systems: A New Civil Rights Frontier” the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explored the role artificial intelligence systems play in making employment decisions.
On January 31, 2023, computer scientists, legal experts, employer representatives, civil rights advocates, and industrial-organizational psychologists gathered as members of a discussion surrounding AI being a biased system that may discriminate and therefore negatively affect diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives.
EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows vocalized, “The goals of this hearing were to both educate a broader audience about the civil rights implications of the use of these technologies and to identify the next steps that the Commission can take to prevent and eliminate unlawful bias in employers’ use of these automated technologies.”
The January hearing serves as a continuation of the EEOC’s AI and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative, an agency-wide plan seeking to guarantee software, including artificial intelligence, complies with federal civil rights laws enforced by the EEOC. Along with this, the EEOC published, “The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Use of Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence to Asses Job Applicants and Employees” accompanied by a hearing to which almost 3,000 members of the public attended.
At the beginning of 2023, the EEOC published the “Draft Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for 2023-2027 that “recognizes employers’ increasing use of automated systems, including artificial intelligence or machine learning to target job advertisements recruit applicants and make or assist in hiring decisions.” Along with this, the document highlights, “screening tools or requirements that disproportionately impact workers based on their protected status, including those facilitated by artificial intelligence or other automated systems pre-employment tests and background checks.