On Sept. 13, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Charlotte A. Burrows and Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Jenny R. Yang hosted a virtual roundtable with external stakeholders to discuss the civil rights implications of the use of automated technology systems, including artificial intelligence, in the recruitment and hiring of workers. The convening was part of the agencies’ joint HIRE Initiative and the EEOC’s AI and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative.
Participants identified numerous ways that employers use automated technologies to source and screen job applicants, such as machine learning algorithms that review resumes and video interviewing technology. They also explained how discrimination may occur based on protected characteristics, including race, sex, disability, and age when employers use hiring technologies. Potential barriers to equal employment opportunity include issues accessing technology due to the digital divide, job advertisements targeting specific groups, and programs analyzing incomplete datasets that under- or over-represent historically marginalized groups.
During the robust conversation participants identified how automated technologies can promote equal employment opportunity such as helping employers better understand applicant pools. Also, participants provided some promising practices to reduce the potential for discrimination. Several speakers noted the importance of ensuring that employers understand how these sophisticated tools are being used to make decisions, address upfront any potential for selection bias, and the need to offer reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Both the EEOC and OFCCP reiterated the agencies’ commitment to address barriers to hiring and recruiting diverse talent.