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AI and HR – a legal challenge

November 20, 2023 Speech Box

AI technologies are already being used at every stage of the HR cycle, from recruitment to dismissal. Legal cases have swiftly followed, says Rhian Radia Partner and Head of the Employment team.

It is commonplace for larger employers to use AI-assisted technology to sift through CVs to determine who might progress through to interview stages and to monitor the performance and productivity of existing staff.

Where AI technology is used there is the very real risk that it might reflect and replicate the biases and inequalities that already exist in society. And that is where employers can find themselves facing legal challenges.

Bias can arise in AI decision making through the datasets in which it is trained and the continued information it receives. Those biases can be exaggerated over time as the technology ‘learns’. Apple, in 2019, had to withdraw its credit card when it found applications from women were routinely refused or issued with considerably lower credit limits than men.

AI in HR is widely used in measuring the performance of employees. Whilst AI may identify top performers based on key business metrics, it lacks personal experience, emotional intelligence and the ability to form an objective opinion to shape decisions.

In 2022, both Meta and Estee Lauder found themselves under intense scrutiny when staff were sacked for poor performance based on decisions made by AI-assisted technology. Some employees who were dismissed successfully brought Employment Tribunal claims against their employers.

Whilst it might be tempting to a business to place its trust in AI software to improve HR processes, there remains a very clear and important role for human interaction. People matters inevitably need that human touch.

Contact our Employment Solicitors

Rhian Radia is a Partner and Head of the Bishop & Sewell Employment team. For initial advice or to arrange a meeting the Employment team, please email  or call on 020 7631 4141

The above is accurate as at 20 November 2023. The information above may be subject to change.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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