AI hiring tools discriminate against people with disabilities, warns US

Kristen Clarke.(photo:wikipedia)

San Francisco, (Asian independent) As employers increasingly use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to hire workers, the Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the US have warned that such algorithms can result in unlawful discrimination against people with disabilities.

Companies the world over AI and other software tools to help them select new employees, monitor performance, and determine pay or promotions.

Employers give computer-based tests to applicants or use computer software to score applicants’ resumes and many of these tools use algorithms or AI.

“These tools may result in unlawful discrimination against people with disabilities in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), said the US.

The EEOC has issued new guidance on how company can safely use algorithm-based tools without risking the systematic exclusion of people with disabilities.

“New technologies should not become new ways to discriminate. If employers are aware of the ways AI and other technologies can discriminate against persons with disabilities, they can take steps to prevent it,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows.

Employers should have a process in place to provide reasonable accommodations when using algorithmic decision-making tools as without proper safeguards, workers with disabilities may be “screened out” from consideration in a job or promotion even if they can do the job with or without a reasonable accommodation.

“If the use of AI or algorithms results in applicants or employees having to provide information about disabilities or medical conditions, it may result in prohibited disability-related inquiries or medical exams,” said the new guidelines.

The organisation said that employers must reveal what technological tools they are using and how their tools could impact different disabilities.

They must provide information for employees on what to do if they believe they have experienced discrimination.

“Algorithmic tools should not stand as a barrier for people with disabilities seeking access to jobs,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke.

The new guidelines are to ensure that the use of software, including AI, used in hiring and other employment decisions, complies with the federal civil rights laws that the EEOC enforces.

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