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How AI could increase the risk of workplace discrimination

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2024 | Employee Discrimination

Artificial intelligence (AI) has had a significant impact on the way companies in Illinois and throughout the United States hire and manage their workforce. However, AI tools may also expose companies to potential liability as they may inadvertently discriminate against candidates or employees who are pregnant or who recently became parents.

AI has few deductive reasoning skills

Generally speaking, software programs are only good at doing what they are told to do. Therefore, if a program is told to look for certain characteristics when sifting through resumes, it will only recommend those who have those characteristics. For example, the program might be told to filter out applicants who have long gaps in their resumes or who have missed several days of work in the past few months. Although it’s understandable that a company wants people who show up to work, it is a violation of federal law to refuse to hire someone who missed work because of issues related to a pregnancy.

You’re always being tracked

Employers have the right to look at your social media posts, blog content or anything else associated with your name online. Therefore, if you wrote about the birth of your latest child or liked a post about baby clothes, it could be interpreted as a sign that you are pregnant or might be soon. Ultimately, an algorithm might pick up on this and use it as a basis to engage in discreet pregnancy discrimination.

Others might also be in danger

AI programs might also be used to discriminate against people based on their age, gender or other protected attributes. Essentially, an algorithm only needs to be tweaked to look for signs that an applicant might be a woman, confined to a wheelchair or otherwise not what an employer might consider to be an ideal candidate.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against, you can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Alternatively, you could attempt to resolve your case in a positive and amicable manner.