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Business settles suit claiming AI use in hiring led to discrimination

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2023 | Age Discrimination

Technology provides countless helpful innovations that can assist in business. But with every innovation comes hurdles. It is important for business owners and employers to recognize those hurdles and work out ways to navigate them. Business leaders are starting to realize one important hurdle when it comes to use of artificial intelligence (AI): bias.

Is there bias in AI?

Research into the issue  has found the algorithms used within AI are often subject to bias. There is evidence that AI models have already provided results that discriminate based on sex and race. This fact leaves employers to ask whether the use of these models is worth the risk.

Does this pose a problem for businesses?

One business serves as an example for those who choose to take that risk. A tutoring company out of New York used AI to help in recruitment efforts. Applicants argue that the system was programed to automatically disqualify older workers. More specifically, it removed from review applications for women over the age of 55 and men over the age of 60. A group of older applicants challenged the business alleging age discrimination and the tutoring company chose to settle the case. It agreed to pay the workers behind the complaint $365,000 to settle their claims. Despite the risks, this business is not the only one choosing to use AI. A recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found almost 80% of employers use some form of AI to aid in recruitment efforts. Additional uses include:

  • Performance management. 38% of respondents state that they use AI to aid in performance management decisions.
  • Productivity monitoring. 18% use AI to review worker output.
  • Promotion decisions. 4% of respondents stated that they would look over AI generated information to aid in promotion decisions.

The case highlighted above shows that employers cannot blame AI for potential discrimination issues. The employer is likely responsible.

What if I think my employer abuses AI?

This is an evolving and complex field. It is likely a good idea to reach out to legal counsel experienced in employee rights to review the issue and provide guidance. An employment law attorney can discuss how the law may apply to your situation.


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