As artificial intelligence begins to permeate nearly every aspect of our lives, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released guidance addressing the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to employer use of algorithms and AI during the hiring process. Some hiring algorithms have a tendency to use arbitrary criteria to penalize applicants, but the EEOC is taking action to prevent high-tech discrimination.
The EEOC’s non-binding technical guidance aims to guide applicants, employees, employers, and technology vendors to ensure that AI technologies are used fairly and consistent with federal equal employment opportunity laws. The initiative also hopes to gather information about the adoption, design, and impact of HR and employment-related technologies and provide guidance on algorithmic fairness and the use of AI in employment decisions. The Commission also instructs employers to disclose to applicants not only when algorithmic tools are being used to evaluate them but what traits are being assessed.
In 2020, and again in 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provided broad guidance on the use of algorithms in business. But the new initiative will take on violations of federal civil rights law involving the use of algorithms — with an eye on law enforcement.