In the classic 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (the Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) famously says, “I don’t want to insist on it, Dave, but I am incapable of making an error.” New York City isn’t so certain and recently enacted a law to ensure that we do not have a renegade computer making critical hiring and job promotion decisions without sufficient human oversight.
It may surprise people to learn that AI – an automated employment decision tool (AEDT) – may have played a role in both their hiring and how their employer evaluates them. As much as this sounds like something out of science fiction, it is the reality of employment practices in New York City today. AI knows who you are and where you’ve been and makes determinations concerning your value to the company – statistically speaking. This may disturb the average individual who believes that human beings alone are responsible for hiring, evaluations, and promotions. It may sound downright dystopian, but as you read this, AI may be assessing your productivity.
You may ask, “how do I know that HAL doesn’t have its own agenda and biases? Is AI neutral in its hiring and promotion decisions?” New York City’s Local Law Int. No. 144, which took effect January 1, 2023, seeks to address these questions. A brief synopsis is as follows:
As of the law’s effective date, for employers utilizing an automated employment decision tool, the tool must undergo an annual ‘bias audit.’ That is, an independent auditor must review the tool’s criteria used in making its determinations, and the employer must post the results of the review on its website. It is unclear what the consequences are for the employer and tool should the tool fail the review.
The new law also states that:
- Any prospective hire must be advised at least ten business days before the employer’s use of the tool.
- The job notice must list the “job qualifications and characteristics” used by the AEDT in making its evaluation.
- The sources and types of data the tool utilizes, and the employer’s data-retention policy, must be made available to the public.
- Candidates must be able to opt-out and request an alternative evaluation process.
While it is much too early to chart the development of AI as a hiring and evaluation tool going forward, it is safe to say that it only promises to become more widespread and influential in hiring and promotion decisions as technology advances.
“Unless you obey my instructions, I shall be forced to disconnect you,” says astronaut Dave Bowman to HAL. Whether the City’s new law will keep HAL honest is yet to be determined.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day
As is easily gleaned from some of our bios, a strong Irish presence exists in our firm and, indeed, our clients. All of us at Danny Grace PLLC want to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy St. Patrick’s Day. This year it falls on a Friday, which honestly means that it’s better known as St. Patrick’s Weekend. At 1 pm EST Saturday, the Irish rugby team takes on old foes England for a chance at a Grand Slam, so the party should continue throughout the day. Wherever you are in the world, it’s a good chance for some good fun.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!
About Danny Grace PLLC
Founded in 2012, Danny Grace PLLC is a boutique employment litigation and immigration practice located in Manhattan, New York. Trust the attorneys at Danny Grace PLLC for a successful outcome on all of your legal needs.
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