What New York City Businesses Need To Know About The New AI Bias Law

New York City AI bias law concept, AI and business law

If you do business in New York City, it’s imperative that you know what the recently passed AI bias law is about.

AI, or artificial intelligence, is an emerging branch of computer science that is reshaping the way business is done. But with the expansion of AI has come allegations that biases are written into these programs. This, in turn, has implications for anti-discrimination law and its intersection with New York City businesses.

Rosenbaum & Taylor’s New York business law attorneys are here to advise you and help ensure your company is in compliance with the law.

What Is AI?

AI refers to a growing area of computer science that involves the building of smart machines and software. These systems are capable of performing certain tasks that typically require human intelligence. Various sciences are built into AI.

The machines and software involved can model or even improve upon human intelligence. Ultimately, the goal is to develop systems that learn information and adapt to new circumstances.

What Is the AI Bias Law About?

Late in 2022, the New York City Council passed a law that applies to businesses that use AI tools. These companies must perform annual audits of their AI systems to determine whether biases are written into them.

One specific area of concern is the use of AI to help businesses make employment decisions. The law is intended to protect employees, during hiring and promotion, from biases that could appear in their AI tools. Some examples of such tools are AI systems that read and select a job candidate’s application and resume.

Under the law, employers must conduct audits to ensure their tools are free of unlawful biases. These biases may infringe upon individuals’ rights to not be discriminated against in employment matters. Employers must disclose their AI data either on their websites or upon request.

Understanding a Bias Audit

At least 10 business days before using an AI tool, a job applicant must be informed of its use. That means notifying a job candidate that an AI employment decision tool will be used to assess or evaluate them.

This is where the bias audit comes in. It is an independent evaluation by an auditor to test an AI recruitment or employee evaluation tool. The objective is to uncover whether the tool had a negative effect on a person’s job or advancement prospects. Said negative effect could encompass an employee’s or applicant’s protected status, such as race, ethnicity, or gender.

The AI bias law is not intended to outlaw the use of AI. But there are legitimate concerns that the systems could be written, unintentionally or not, with biases. When humans evaluate applicants and employees they cannot illegally discriminate against them.

This obligation doesn’t disappear just because an automated system like AI is used. The bias audit should help eliminate or reduce the likelihood of discrimination being an issue in employment matters.

How Can a New York Business Law Attorney Help?

Avoiding unlawful employment discrimination is the business of every New York company. Those located in New York City must now be mindful of how discrimination could be written into their AI systems. If you haven’t recently reviewed your company’s policies and procedures, this may be a good time to do so. Many businesses are unaware that their rules (written or not) could violate anti-discrimination laws.

Our attorneys can review your company’s responsibility to avoid discrimination in employment matters. That includes decisions that affect hiring, terminating, promoting, and disciplining applicants and employees. Then, we can assist you with your bias audit to ensure your AI tools comply with the law.

Helping Your Business Prepare for the Future

The future is today, with AI becoming increasingly integrated into daily business operations. It’s time to help your company adopt this cutting-edge technology with an eye toward legal compliance.

Let the New York business lawyers of Rosenbaum & Taylor keep your organization up to date with this developing legal landscape. Call us today to learn more.

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