A first-of-its-kind law requiring companies to audit artificial intelligence systems for bias when using them in hiring and promotion decisions recently went into effect in New York City, leaving employers and auditors scrambling to comply.
As of last week, New York City employers have to independently audit their systems for bias and publish the results on their company websites, or face fines.
The law comes amid a nationwide push to regulate AI’s use at work from both lawmakers and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Illinois and Maryland have laws on the books regulating the use of AI in video job interviews, and other states are weighing their own legislation on AI bias in hiring. …
Under the New York City law, employers will have to take an inventory of their hiring and recruitment software to determine if any of it constitutes an “automated employment decision tool,” said Nathaniel Glasser, a partner at Epstein Becker Green who represents employers.
The AEDT distinction means the law will cover many AI-powered tools, including those used for screening candidates and parsing their resumes, as well as automated systems used to interview potential hires.
Employers On Alert
One challenge for companies seeking to comply is that they don’t always collect data with regards to race and gender when evaluating job candidates, which could make the audits less meaningful, Glasser said.
The final rule says that if an employer has historical data, it has to use it in its audit. If an employer doesn’t collect this data, the employer may use “test data” that is not necessarily affiliated with the company, as long as it makes an additional disclosure in its public report.
“Obtaining sufficient information to conduct a statistically significant bias audit may be a problem and it’s one that a number of employers are working through right now,” Glasser said.