The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – a government agency enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – has released a technical assistance document titled “Assessing Adverse Impact in Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence Used in Employment Selection Procedures Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
According to an EEOC press release dated May 18, 2023, the technical assistance document is focused on preventing discrimination against job seekers and workers while explaining the application of key established aspects of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) to an employer’s use of automated systems, including those that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI).
Employers increasingly use automated systems such as AI to help them with employment matters such as selecting new employees, monitoring performance, and determining pay or promotions. Without proper safeguards, their use may violate Title VII, which is enforced by the EEOC and prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex.
The technical assistance document discusses “adverse impact” to help employers prevent the use of AI from leading to discrimination in the workplace, answers questions about how Title VII applies to the use of automated systems in employment decisions, and assists in evaluating whether such systems may have an adverse or disparate impact prohibited by Title VII.
The document builds on previous EEOC releases of “The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Use of Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence to Assess Job Applicants and Employees” in May 2022 and a “Joint Statement on Enforcement Efforts Against Discrimination and Bias in Automated Systems” with other United States government agencies in April 2023.
“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,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “This new technical assistance document will aid employers and tech developers as they design and adopt new technologies.”
In 2021, EEOC Chair Burrows launched an agency-wide “Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative” to ensure that the use of software including AI, machine learning, and other emerging technologies used in hiring and other employment decisions comply with the federal civil rights laws that the EEOC enforces. To learn more about the EEOC, visit www.eeoc.gov.
ClearStar is a leading global Human Resources technology company specializing in background checks, drug testing, and occupational health screening. The use of AI by employers coming under government scrutiny is one of the “2023 Top Trends in Workforce Screening” researched and compiled in a white paper by ClearStar. To learn more about ClearStar, contact us.
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