An unsuccessful job seeker's suit claiming human resources software provider Workday's artificial intelligence-powered hiring tools violate employment discrimination laws could provide early answers about whether vendors can face liability for products that yield biased results, experts say.
Derek Mobley's Feb. 21 complaint said he has been rejected for dozens of positions posted by employers using Workday's applicant screening software because he's Black, over 40 and suffers from anxiety and depression.
Experts say this suit, lodged in California federal court, breaks new ground and spotlights thorny legal issues surrounding the use of AI in workplaces. Since the suit is against Workday, not a potential employer, it's not clear whether the company can be held liable under the laws Mobley invoked — Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act….
Epstein Becker Green employment partner Adam S. Forman said most companies are likely using some form of AI in their business, even if they don't know it. Forman said those companies need to self-audit with an eye toward minimizing risk, in light of the fact that "there may be a wave of litigation coming."…
While no one knows how Mobley's lawsuit will turn out, experts say there will likely be many more suits challenging AI in the workplace as discriminatory.
"Regardless of what happens in this particular case, it is the proverbial shot across the bow and a wake-up call for employers who either are or may soon use artificial intelligence in their workplace," Forman said. "It's very likely that this lawsuit is a harbinger of things to come."