EEOC Settles Landmark AI Discrimination Workplace Suit

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled its first discrimination lawsuit involving artificial intelligence (AI) in a New York federal district court. The EEOC and iTutorGroup filed a joint settlement, which provides that the tutoring company will pay $365,000 to resolve the charges against it. The EEOC alleged that iTutor’s AI hiring selection tool illegally screened out female applicants over the age of fifty-five and male applicants over the age of sixty.

An individual who unsuccessfully applied to iTutor and then, after submitting a resume showing a younger birthdate, was granted an interview for the same position, filed a complaint with the EEOC about the company’s hiring practice. In response, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against iTutor, alleging that the company has committed illegal age and gender discrimination concerning more than two hundred applicants based on its AI hiring selection program usage.

iTutor continued to deny any wrongdoing, even as it entered the joint settlement. Aside from the settlement funds it agreed to pay the rejected applicants, the company also agreed to adopt anti-discrimination policies and conduct employee training about equal employment opportunity laws. Finally, the company must reconsider the applications of all previously rejected applicants.

This settlement is significant because it is the first EEOC settlement concerning employment discrimination resulting from an employer’s AI hiring selection tool. With the EEOC actively pushing employers to be mindful of potential discrimination using these tools, this is unlikely to be the last discrimination suit and settlement involving AI.

Furthermore, since most employers now use some form of AI in the recruitment and hiring process, employers must determine how to use AI without running afoul of discrimination laws. Here are some steps employers can take to ensure that their AI recruiting and hiring tools do not violate anti-discrimination laws and expose them to EEOC complaints.

  • Rigorously test and regularly review AI tools using diverse data sets;
  • Conduct AI bias audits;
  • Train HR employees on the use of AI tools and do not eliminate humans from the recruiting and hiring decision-making process;
  • Establish clear workplace policies on the use of AI tools and allow for feedback from users, as well as third parties; and
  • Partner with legal counsel to answer your questions, advise you as needed, and ensure that you stay up to date with changes in the law.

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 470-571-1007.

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