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First lawsuit against AI recruiting tools reaches its end

After facing allegations of age discrimination through AI tools, iTutor has reached a settlement in this historic lawsuit.

A small group of employees, two older men and one younger Black woman, gathered around paperwork about AI and discussing earnestly.

Last year, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against iTutor for age discrimination in hiring. The software used to collect applications by iTutor was programmed to automatically reject female applicants older than age 55 and male applicants older than 60. After more than 14 months, the iTutor and the EEOC reached a consent decree in which iTutor must pay $365,000 to the 200+ rejected applicants. This case is considered the first lawsuit involving Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools used in hiring and age discrimination.  

Results of the lawsuit 

Under the consent decree, iTutor continues to deny any wrongdoing, but they have agreed to the settlement. Furthermore, iTutor must adopt anti-discrimination policies and conduct trainings, and it may not reject future applicants based on sex or age. All rejected applicants will be able to reapply under the consent decree. The consent decree is pending until signed by Judge Pamela K. Chen.

AI recruiting tools under scrutiny 

In 1965, the EEOC was established to enforce civil rights laws in the workplace. In 2018, the EEOC identified developing issues, such as AI bias in hiring, in its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). This year’s SEP includes updates that indicate the EECO will “turn its enforcement attention to artificial intelligence tools used by employers to hire workers that can also introduce discriminatory decision-making.”

It’s estimated that over 75% of employers are using AI tools in recruiting and employment. Businesses that use these tools must have human-machine collaboration to avoid potential biases in hiring.  

The takeaway: 

AI tools can be very valuable in supporting the hiring process, but they aren’t the end-all. Businesses should have strategies and policies in place when involving AI-tools for recruitment and hiring. Don’t rely on AI technology to ensure fair hiring practices under federal laws. Review the tools to ensure AI tools comply with all regulations. Keep humans involved in the hiring process to watch for discrimination.

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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.


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