The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance for employers on the use of automated systems that use artificial intelligence in various HR functions. Employers have an ever-increasing range of algorithmic decision-making tools available to assist in employment-related decisions, but without proper safeguards, employers might inadvertently violate Title VII when using these tools.

Title VII applies to all employment practices of covered employers, including recruitment, monitoring, transfer, and evaluation of employees, among others. While AI tools may aid employers in recruitment, hiring, retention, and other employment decisions, these tools may result in bias against members of protected classes.

According to the technical assistance provided by the EEOC on May 18, employers will be held accountable for any violations, regardless of whether an AI tool is administered by a third party. The EEOC further clarified that any tests or selection procedures, including algorithmic decision-making tools, disproportionately affecting individuals based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, must be directly related to the job and necessary for business purposes.

“As employers increasingly turn to AI and other automated systems, they must ensure that the use of these technologies aligns with the civil rights laws and our national values of fairness, justice, and equality,” EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said. “This new technical assistance document will aid employers and tech developers as they design and adopt new technologies.”

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