The EEOC and iTutorGroup, Inc. have reached an agreement to resolve the first AI discrimination lawsuit.
The EEOC’s complaint alleged the company’s hiring software automatically rejected older applicants in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Specifically, the lawsuit claimed the hiring program software rejected “female applicants age[d] 55 or older and male applicants age[d] 60 or older,” effectively screening out more than 200 applicants.
The problem was discovered when one applicant submitted two applications that were identical – with one exception, the suit alleged. The first application listed the woman’s real date of birth. On the second application, she entered a more recent date of birth. The applicant was contacted for an interview after she submitted the second application showing a younger age.
The suit sought back pay and damages for more than 200 applicants who were “denied jobs because of their age.”
The company agreed to pay $365,000 to be distributed to a group of applicants rejected on the basis of age. It also agreed to comprehensive injunctive relief. Among other things, the company:
- Is enjoined from screening applicants based on age
- Is enjoined from requesting dates of birth before a job offer is made
- Must provide four hour-long training sessions conducted by EEOC-approved third parties to all supervisory and management level employees focusing on the ADEA, Title VII and other federal EEO laws
- Must post a notice about employees’ rights
- Must review and revise anti-discrimination policies
- Must incorporate the updated policies into the employee handbook
- Must implement a complaint process for employees and applicants who wish to file a complaint, and
- Must submit to EEOC monitoring for the duration of the agreement.
Why is this settlement such a big deal?
At the risk of sounding obvious: This is the first-ever AI discrimination settlement. Clearly, AI has been on the EEOC’s radar.
As you may recall, the agency launched its Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative in January. And in May, it issued a new resource that outlines important considerations when incorporating AI tools into