Employer Paying Six Figure Settlement Based on EEOC Claims that AI Software Discriminated Against Older Applicants.
Bloomberg Law reported earlier today that the Equal Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) reached a settlement for $365,000 with iTutorGroup, Inc. after the federal agency filed a complaint against the employer alleging that its artificial intelligence (“AI”) software automatically rejected female tutor applicants over 55 and male tutor applicants over 60.
According to the complaint, the age exclusion was discovered when a rejected applicant submitted a new identical application with a more recent birth date. The EEOC claimed over two hundred applicants were adversely affected.
Although this is not a California complaint/settlement, this is the first AI case settlement we are aware of. The case and settlement illustrate that the EEOC is willing to aggressively prosecute cases in the AI area as part of its Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative. This settlement should not be ignored by the employer community and it further emphasizes the need for California employers who use artificial intelligence for recruiting/screening to:
- Ensure they understand how the software is screening applicants;
- Become familiar with the guidelines and technical assistance that is out there including the EEOC Technical Assistance Publication: Assessing Adverse Impact in Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence Used in Employment Selection Procedures Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which we wrote about previously back in May;
- Monitor AB 331 now pending in the California Assembly, which if passed would regulate how employers can use automated decision tools such as artificial intelligence and give the state the right to prosecute violations of the bill’s provisions; and
- Monitor the California Civil Rights Council’s proposed regulations regarding AI and automated decision-making systems.