Should Employers Use Tech To Make Hiring Decisions?


Many employers have incorporated technology into their hiring processes. From algorithms to narrow the applicant pool to artificial intelligence (AI) interviews, tech can be a useful tool. Unfortunately, technology is designed by humans and thus subject to human error.

Biased AI and Algorithms

For example, consider Amazon’s failed AI system. The company used AI to determine which candidates would be invited for in-person interviews, but the system was programmed using data from successful male candidates, so the algorithm quickly learned to prefer male candidates. Ironically, a system designed to eliminate human bias and recruit a more diverse workforce did just the opposite. The program was discontinued in 2018.

AI also struggles with facial recognition for Black, Asian, minority, and ethnic candidates and cannot always decipher women’s voices or regional accents. Automated filtration tools may disproportionately filter out certain groups and demographics, as well. One program, for instance, filtered out applicants who attended women’s colleges and failed to refer applicants with less common names.

Even advertising can appeal to certain groups and exclude others, unwittingly limiting the candidate pool. Thus, technology does not get rid of unconscious bias and may actually make some problems worse.

“The Computer Said So” Is Not a Good Reason to Fire Someone

Recently, Estée Lauder used AI software to make cuts to its team of makeup artists. The cosmetics company conducted AI interviews to decide which artists to dismiss, and when employees asked why they were being fired, Estée Lauder cited data points and could not give them another reason.

Many of the terminated employees are seeking legal action, and “because the computer said so,” may not hold up in court – particularly if an investigation finds any bias in the software.

Being a makeup artist requires a unique blend of technical and interpersonal skills, and computers may not be adequate to evaluate these skills. In fact, technology may not be capable of evaluating many types of workers, and employers cannot blame everything on the computer.

What If an Employer Discriminates Against Me?

If an employer discriminates against you during the hiring process or terminates you for discriminatory reasons, you can take legal action against them. Refusing to hire someone (or firing them) because of their age (40+), color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, or sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy status) is illegal, and employers can face consequences.

You can also recover damages for the opportunities you missed, and if your (potential) employer is found liable, they will be responsible for your legal bills.

Donati Law, PLLC can help you hold your employer or potential employer accountable for discrimination in the workplace, whether they used an AI software, a flawed algorithm, or just bad judgment.

Discrimination has a negative impact on our entire community, and our mission is to improve the lives of our clients and all people in our shared community.

We have been helping hardworking people like you for more than 35 years. Step behind The Donati Shield of protection and help us help you.

Call us at (901) 209-5500 or contact us online to discuss your case today.

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