EEOC’s Deep Dive into Artificial Intelligence

EEOC Commissioner, Charlotte A. Burrows, recently announced that the Equal Employment Opportunity Co...

Posted by Beth Conner on November 8 2021
Beth Conner

EEOC Commissioner, Charlotte A. Burrows, recently announced that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will begin an initiative that ensures that artificial intelligence (AI) and other algorithmic decision-making methods used in hiring comply with the federal civil right laws. Prior to this announcement, at a presentation at the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) Annual Conference in August, Commissioner Keith Sonderling provided a very informative presentation on Artificial Intelligence and identified this as one of his key policy initiatives at the EEOC.

Artificial Intelligence, when carefully designed and used appropriately in the hiring process could assist talent acquisition professionals to automate administrative tasks more quickly, assist with the job matching process, as well as cull down the time it takes for screening, hiring, and onboarding employees. However, it does have the potential to perpetuate bias and discrimination when it is not properly designed and if used inappropriately.

In a statement Commissioner Burrows acknowledges that AI has potential in the area of employment, but anti-discrimination laws still apply. She stated “The EEOC will address workplace bias that violates federal civil rights laws regardless of the form it takes, and the agency is committed to helping employers understand how to benefit from these new technologies while also complying with employment laws.”

The EEOC has plans to create an internal group that will coordinate with the agency on this initiative. They will begin a series of sessions with key stakeholders pertaining to any algorithmic tools and any employment ramifications. The EEOC will gather information related to adoption of AI design of AI and impact of hiring, as well as any other employment related technologies. This will allow them to identify any promising practices and then they will issue a technical assistance guide on algorithmic fairness and use of AI in employment decisions.

If you are currently using AI in your talent acquisition processes or thinking about it, there are some key things consider, including who has or will be designing and implementing your processes. Do they understand anti-discrimination regulations, including the Uniform Guidelines Employee Selection Procedures? Have your processes been validated and is there a chance that your AI is perpetuating bias?

This is an evolving area in the talent acquisition process and this a likely just the beginning of conversations regarding AI and equal employment opportunity. In fact, some state and local governments have already proposed legislation to ensure transparency and fairness in its use for employment decision-making.

Continue to check back for additional updates on AI as we see this technology progress.

Beth Conner
Beth Conner
Beth Conner, HR Consultant, has over 15 years of experience as an HR Generalist, focused the past 7 years in Affirmative Action.

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