EEOC Intends to Protect Jobseekers From Automated Discrimination

September 27, 2023

Since the rise of AI screening tools, job seekers have struggled to find and acquire job opportunities. This challenge caught the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) attention, urging the Commission to tackle the issue.

The Cause of These Guidelines

As of June, the EEOC established guidelines addressing employers’ use of AI and automated tools in their hiring process. The EEOC also warned employers against improperly using these tools. The Commission cited examples of misuse, including unwarranted rejection of candidates. Failure to adhere to the EEOC’s guidelines could lead to legal action for violating civil rights. Some speculate the EEOC’s motion likely happened due to a recent settlement it participated in.

According to the settlement, an online tutoring agency rejected candidates due to their age. The affected claimed the agency’s AI software screened out women 55 or older and men 60 or older. Removing these individuals from the pool of applicants resulted in over 200 candidates losing opportunities due to age.

This practice is a distinct violation of anti-discrimination laws. As such, the EEOC pursued a lawsuit against the company in 2022, which finished in 2023. The settlement required the tutoring group to pay $365,000 to those affected.

The Effect of AI

As a result, the EEOC has begun pushing back on AI to prevent discriminatory hiring practices. The Commission also stressed that employers retain liability for discrimination despite the AI tool discriminately approving and disapproving candidates. Employers maintain responsibility for the results of the technology they utilize.

Many speculate the 2022 case is the first but not the last. As more employers use AI tools in their hiring process, the likelihood of unintentionally violating applicants’ civil rights will increase. As such, the EEOC assures job seekers that the Commission will protect them and watch for claims of bias due to AI screening.

However, this does not mean job seekers will avoid AI in their search. Many employers rely on AI or automated programs in their recruitment process. Some have these tools scanning applications for keywords; others have them assisting HR with automated emails or notifications.

Regardless of where AI sees use, discrimination affects employers and applicants. Discrimination is more likely to appear during the background check process, which many employers require and have AI assistance. Consider running a self-background check to ensure AI will not discriminate against you for any reason. If it does, the EEOC is ready to hear your complaint and address the issue.

You can stay one step ahead of AI and automated screening tools by running a quick self background check. Click here to get started.