Artificial intelligence could mean more litigation for restaurant employers

Working Lunch: Relying on a computer brain to sift through resumes for the ideal candidate could raise challenges about the criteria that are set by the employer.

Could artificial intelligence land more restaurant companies in court? If they rely on a computer brain to handle recruitment, the answer is definitely a yes, according to this week’s episode of the Working Lunch podcast.

“The minute you use these tools, we’re going to see a lot of activity from the EEOC,” or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said this week’s guest, Ed Egee, VP of government relations and workforce development for the National Retail Federation.

The issue, he told podcast co-hosts Joe Kefauver and Franklin Coley, is that trial lawyers are looking for a new gold mine, and this could be it.

He explained that using some artificial intelligence tool to sort through resumes can whittle down stacks of thousands to just the few that meet an employer’s key criteria for candidates. A machine would ignore everything but those desired characteristics.

The problem, Egee continued, is that lawyers could argue the process is discriminatory per se, since other traits or characteristics might be ignored. Similarly, some applicants might be ruled out instantly if they’re unskilled at drafting a resume, making them the victims of discrimination against the uneducated or poorly literate.

The likely way to avert discrimination suits, Egee said, would be involving humans in the screening function at some stage.

To learn more about this little-discussed risk associated with embracing artificial intelligence, download this week’s episode of Working Lunch from wherever you get your podcasts.

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