Employers could inadvertently violate the Americans with Disabilities Act if they use artificial intelligence to assess job seekers and employees, warns the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a technical assistance document issued on Thursday.
The most common way employers can do this is not to provide “affordable housing”; use an algorithmic decision-making tool that “filters out” individuals with disabilities; and to use such tools to violate the ADA’s restrictions on disability – related inquiries and medical examinations.
The document states that employers are responsible under the ADA for their use of these tools if they are administered by other entities, such as software vendors.
Steps that EEOC recommends to reduce the chances of screening someone out due to a disability are: make sure the user interface is accessible to as many people with disabilities as possible; present materials in alternative formats; and determining whether the algorithm disadvantages individuals with disabilities.
The document also states that the tool used by the employer should indicate the availability of reasonable adjustments; provide clear instructions for requesting reasonable adjustments prior to assessment; and provide all applicants and staff with as much information about the tool as possible.