Workers in New York City Protected from Hiring Biases

 In Employment Law, Overtime Law, Wage Law

Artificial Intelligence Hiring Biases in New York City

Workers in New York City have a new way to fight hiring biases. Over the last decade and more, employers have been using artificial intelligence (“AI”), machine learning (“ML”) and algorithmic computer programs to make hiring decisions. Often, the result is some sort of ranking, scaling or coding of job applicants that screen those to be interviewed. Supposedly, the goal is to make applicant screening more efficient. But, the use of artificial intelligence and other types of computerized programs have raised concerns of bias and discrimination.

Workers have legal rights to be free of bias and discrimination with respect to job hirings and promotions. Worker rights advocates have argued that artificial intelligence programs can mask bias and discrimination by presenting a false image of “neutral” decision-making. But, if the data inputs used by the program contain biased and discriminatory information, then the results generated by the artificial intelligence program are biased and discriminatory.

If you think that you, as a worker, have been the victim of hiring/promotion bias, whether through use of an artificial intelligence program or through human decision-making, you need to consult with experienced employee rights attorneys like that at Herrmann Law. Your rights can be vindicated and you may be entitled to money damages as compensation.

Workers in New York City are Protected from Artificial Intelligence Hiring Biases

As we wrote about here, last year, New York state added significant wage theft protections for New York construction workers. Now, in an effort to protect workers in New York City from a new form of potential bias, NYC has enacted an Ordinance to regulate the use of artificial intelligence in hiring. The new ordinance applies to any sort of computer program like artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistical modeling and data analysis that is used to score or classify applicants if such scores or classification are used by an employer to “substantially assist” the hiring process. The new ordinance also applies to decisions with respect to promotions. See text of ordinance here. The ordinance will become effective in 2023.

The use of artificial intelligence and computerized programs for hiring has not been banned in New York City. Rather, the NYC ordinance requires that:

  • Employers subject their artificial intelligence and computerized programs to an annual, independent “bias audit”
  • Publish the result of the bias audit
  • Provide each applicant with written notice that an artificial intelligence and/or computerized program is being used in the hiring (or promotion) process — the notice must be given at least ten business days before use of the artificial intelligence program
  • Provide written notice of the “job qualifications and characteristics” that are subject to the artificial intelligence program’s use
  • Provide notice of the sources and types of data used
  • Provide notice of the employer’s data-retention policy and
  • As an accommodation, allow applicants to opt out of being subject to the artificial intelligence program’s use

Employers can be punished for violating the new ordinance with civil fines of $500 to $1,500 for each violation of any of the above requirements.

So far, only New York City has enacted an ordinance of this type. But, as noted, bias or discrimination in hiring and/or promotion decisions is illegal. Even without an ordinance like the one just passed in New York City, employers using computerized programs in hiring decisions can still be sued and brought to justice if it can be shown that their program contains biased inputs leading to illegal discriminatory hiring practices. Likewise, if it can be shown that the results generated are biased and discriminatory, then, again, an employer can be sued for violating the law.

Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at Herrmann Law Today

For more information, call the Employee Rights attorneys at Herrmann Law. If you think that your employer has violated your rights as an employee, call us. We are proven, experienced, employee-focused attorneys representing workers across the United States in all types of workplace disputes. Use our Online Contact page or call us at (817) 479-9229. We are more than just a law firm for employees – we are an employee’s fiercest advocate, equipping employees with the legal representation needed to achieve the best result possible.

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