The jobs site agrees to use artificial intelligence to search for bias

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A recent hiring bias settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has resulted in “beneficial” use of AI technology, even as the agency strongly warns employers about the potential risks of AI in hiring.

DHI Group Inc. — which operates Dice, a jobs site for tech professionals — has reached an agreement with the EEOC to resolve discrimination fees based on national origin. The agency alleged that job advertisements on the site discriminated against US workers while favoring foreign workers and students.

An investigation found that the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “when some of its customers posted sites on that excluded those of Native American descent, thereby deterring a class of workers from coming forward,” the agency said in a statement.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers or recruiters from publishing job listings that indicate preference or limitations based on national origin.

DHI agreed to revise its guidance to customers to include instructions to avoid using language such as “H-1Bs Only” or “H-1Bs and OPT Preferred.” (International students with an F-1 visa can work in the United States through the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.)

AI to the rescue

In an interesting twist, the jobs site has agreed to use AI programming technology to comb its job listings for national origin bias. Under the agreement, Dice will use technology to scrape “potentially discriminatory keywords such as ‘OPT’, ‘H-1B’ or ‘visa’ that appear near the words ‘only’ or ‘must’ in its client’s new job advertisements,” she said. EEOC.

“DHI’s use of programming to weed out potentially discriminatory jobs demonstrates the beneficial use of AI in combating employment discrimination,” said Chelsea J. Ford, trial attorney and EEOC’s Miami District Coordinator.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Using Artificial Intelligence for Employment Purposes]

Benjamin Ebbink, an attorney in the Sacramento-based office of Fisher Phillips, said the EEOC action is important for several reasons.

“First, this continued focus of the EEOC on employment discrimination, including on job postings or job search sites. With continued focus on job postings and pay transparency, including on third-party sites, this will be an area of ​​scrutiny for some time,” he said. .

Ebbink added that the announcement that DHI Group is using AI-style programming to weed out job postings for potentially discriminatory terms is also crucial.

“Much of the interest in AI in recent weeks and months has been more or less negative, focusing on concerns about discriminatory bias and the need for additional safeguards,” he said. “This announcement highlights the fact that – even as recognized by the EEOC – AI can be a force for good. It is a good reminder that AI can have beneficial uses and also be part of the solution when it comes to It’s a functional discrimination, rather than part of the problem.”