California is among the first states to propose expressly regulating employers’ use of algorithms and artificial intelligence. In a March 25, 2022 virtual public meeting, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council discussed proposed regulatory changes that would address employers’ and third parties’ use of artificial intelligence in employment practices. While the proposed regulations remain a work in progress, they provide a glimpse into how policymakers are approaching these issues — and they could prove influential to other states (and even, potentially, the federal government) contemplating their own regulations in this space.
On March 14, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a technical assistance document, the COVID-19 Pandemic and Caregiver Discrimination Under Federal Employment Discrimination Laws, which explains how discrimination against applicants and employees with caregiving responsibilities can violate federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. Although EEO laws do not prohibit discrimination against caregivers specifically, there are some circumstances in which discrimination against caregivers may be unlawful. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has created — and exacerbated — competing job and caregiving demands for individuals as they navigate hybrid work schedules, unexpected closures of school and care facilities, and potential COVID-19 exposure, the EEOC’s updated information may inform employer decisions and actions as they adapt their workplaces to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
As more organizations use artificial intelligence and algorithms to drive decision-making processes, policymakers are beginning to address concerns about these tools — including their lack of transparency and potential for generating unintended bias and discrimination. In our inaugural artificial intelligence briefing, we provide a rundown of recent AI regulatory and legislative developments from across the U.S. that should be top of mind for any organization using AI or algorithms.
On June 15, 2020, in the month and year that marks the 50th anniversary of LGBTQ+ Pride traditions, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In the 6-3 decision authored by Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court said that Title VII’s message is simple: “[a]n individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions . . . [and] it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.” Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 590 U.S. ___ (2020).
This opinion resolves a circuit split arising from decisions by the Second, Sixth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. In each case, an employer fired a long-time employee shortly after the employee disclosed being “homosexual” or “transgender” and allegedly for no reason other than the employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.