Adam S. Forman, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Detroit and Chicago offices, was quoted in Law360 Employment Authority, in “HR Workers Want Help Identifying Bias in Workplace AI Tech,” by Rachel Stone. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

One in four employers utilize artificial intelligence or automation to help manage their workforce, and nearly half of human resources professionals at businesses that use this technology say they want help assessing whether the cutting-edge tools are perpetuating bias, a new study found.

A report released by the Society for Human Resource Management, or SHRM, on Wednesday said that 46% of the human resources professionals whose companies use AI or automation for "HR-related activities" related to hiring and recruiting expressed a desire for guidance on how to spot algorithmic bias. …

Epstein Becker Green employment partner Adam S. Forman told Law360 on Thursday that he wasn't surprised that the human resources professionals surveyed reported that vendors aren't being very transparent, pointing out that as of now, AI in recruitment and assessment is still a nascent industry.

"While there are some standards and regulations — New York City's being one of the most recent and most prominent attempts to regulate the use of these tools in hiring and assessment — there isn't a national law that expressly applies," Forman said. However, he said federal civil rights laws such as Title VII may cover the use of cutting-edge technology, they don't explicitly address it.

Forman also pointed out that despite there currently just being a "patchwork of laws that apply," the landscape is rapidly changing.

New laws in this area have been emerging in recent years, beginning with Illinois' Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act, which went into effect in January 2020. Maryland has also implemented a law that requires employers to get applicants' consent before using facial recognition technology in interviews.

In November, the New York City Council passed a bill mandating employers run bias audits before using AI tools, which will become effective starting January 2023.

Additional bills have been proposed in Washington D.C., and California, Forman said, and while the federal Algorithmic Accountability Act has been floated for years, he posited that this might be the year it sticks.

While the lack of regulation in this space has made it effectively the "wild, wild West," regulatory initiatives governing the ethical use of this technology will likely require employers to seek more information from their vendors in the future, Forman said.

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