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Could artificial intelligence lead to employment discrimination?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2022 | Workplace Discrimination

In California, employment discrimination takes many forms and can occur in a variety of circumstances. Workers who are victimized might see this as happening when they are interviewed, are on the job or seeking advancement and face obstacles due to race, gender, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and more. Of course, these behaviors happen frequently and people who have been negatively affected by them should understand their options. Still, other problems can come up and lead to discrimination. Recognizing new challenges is also important for current, former and prospective employees to be treated fairly and within the law.

Concerns rise about artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is increasingly part of everyday use in just about every endeavor. Employers use it for many purposes. One that is stoking concern is AI being utilized in the employment process. This is true for assessing prospective employees and gauging worker output. The U.S. government is aware of this and is warning employers to watch for potential discrimination that could leave them vulnerable to allegations of employment law violations and legal claims.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Justice Department gave guidance as to how employers should use these advancements. The fear is that workers with disabilities will be unfairly weeded out of the process, essentially being discriminated against by the AI algorithm. It is believed that the algorithm could inadvertently eliminate people with disabilities and constitute discrimination.

Some employers use testing practices during the application process that are difficult for disabled people to complete without appearing unqualified. For example, if typing speed is a factor, someone who cannot type fast due to a disability but can do the job could be eliminated. Video technology could take a person’s manner of speaking as a reason to discard their application. AI, while meant to be completely evenhanded, could make mistakes. Some could be learned from the industry itself, where discrimination has long been a challenge.

Help for victims of discrimination

The objective of AI is to increase efficiency and remove the human element that can consciously or unconsciously result in qualified workers facing employment discrimination. However, as this information suggests, the problem remains prevalent and is believed to be happening with AI. For workers and applicants who think they were discriminated against due to AI or for any other reason, consulting with professionals who know how to gather evidence and move forward with a claim can be essential to make sure employers are accountable.

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