As more companies in Idaho use artificial intelligence (“AI”) tools during the hiring process, they should consider whether this technology could violate employment laws. While AI tools can help companies streamline their recruitment process and help identify candidates for the job, AI also raises discrimination and privacy concerns, among other issues. It is important to understand the potential legal implications of using AI to help make hiring decisions.
AI tools can potentially introduce and perpetuate bias against protected groups of individuals based on gender, ethnicity and other protected characteristics. According to a Pew Research Center report, 72% of Americans are concerned that AI may result in discrimination in the hiring process. If used improperly, resume-filtering algorithms and other AI hiring tools can perpetuate these problems, especially if AI is used without any human oversight or intervention. Lack of human oversight can expose employers to potential violations of anti-discrimination laws and put them at risk of legal action.
Transparency regarding hiring tactics
Transparency in your hiring processes is the best way to avoid claims that they perpetuate bias or discrimination against protected classes. Employers must disclose and obtain permission to run background checks, use professional background screening firms, or to utilize employment verification services (from companies such as Equifax). Employers should also disclose if and how AI tools are used to evaluate candidates including how any personal data is collected and used. Some states are enacting laws specifically requiring disclosure when AI tools are utilized. A new employment law in New York requires employers to notify candidates if/when AI is used for hiring purposes. More states will likely follow suit.
As AI models collect and analyze vast amounts of data on potential job candidates, they also raise privacy concerns. Generally, employers must inform job seekers, candidates and employees of the types of data they collect and what they intend to do with that information.
AI tools for human resources are becoming more common, and as they continue to evolve and improve, they will continue to control more and more of the hiring process. To help prevent bias, unfair application, avoid privacy issues, and other potential problems, humans should provide oversight when using AI technology. Many firms currently use AI to sort through resumes at the start of the hiring process, and humans perform the rest of the steps to bring a candidate on board.
Some critics feel AI cannot discern essential aspects of a candidate’s personality, such as character or morals, and according to the Pew report, 68% of Americans feel that AI will not capture a candidate’s social skills or personality, both of which could be crucial to a job’s function.
AI tools may add value and support to the hiring process. Still, employers must continue to rely on human oversight to keep employment searches and hiring processes fair and free from discrimination.