The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published a comprehensive technical assistance document to address the growing concern of discrimination against job seekers and workers in relation to the use of automated systems, including those incorporating artificial intelligence, by employers.
The EEOC, as the primary federal agency responsible for enforcing Title VII, seeks to ensure that these technologies align with civil rights laws and promote fairness, justice, and equality.
The new publication, Assessing Adverse Impact in Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence Used in Employment Selection Procedures Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is available to all employers on the EEOC web site.
In contemporary workplaces, employers are increasingly relying on automated systems, often powered by AI, to aid them in various employment matters. These systems are utilized for tasks such as employee selection, performance monitoring, and determining pay or promotions. While these technologies offer efficiency and accuracy, their utilization without adequate safeguards may inadvertently lead to violations of existing civil rights laws, according to the EEOC.
The EEOC has emphasized the importance of aligning the use of AI and automated systems with civil rights laws and national values.
The new technical assistance document focuses on adverse impact, a fundamental concept in civil rights law, to assist employers in preventing discrimination in the workplace resulting from the use of AI.
The publication expands upon previous releases by the EEOC, such as technical assistance on AI and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as a joint agency pledge. It further addresses common queries employers and tech developers may have regarding the application of Title VII to the use of automated systems in employment decisions.
By providing guidance, the document enables employers to assess whether these systems may have an adverse or disparate impact on protected characteristics outlined in Title VII, such as race, color, national origin, religion, or sex, which includes pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The EEOC encourages employers to engage in ongoing self-analysis to identify any potential discriminatory effects arising from their use of technology.
The release of this technical assistance document by the EEOC falls under its Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative. The initiative strives to ensure that software, including AI, used in hiring and other employment decisions adheres to the federal civil rights laws enforced by the EEOC.
The EEOC developed its technical assistance document to serve as a resource for employers and tech developers, facilitating their understanding of how civil rights laws intersect with the use of automated systems, particularly those employing AI, in employment decisions.
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