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Workday accused of AI discrimination against applicants

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www.personneltoday.com | Jo Faragher

HR software giant Workday is facing a claim that it uses artificial intelligence tools that discriminate against job applicants.

Applicant Derek Mobley has filed a complaint to a federal court in San Francisco claiming that he has been turned down for more than 100 jobs he applied for using the Workday platform.

An initial lawsuit filed by Mobley was dismissed last month by US district judge Rita Lin, who said it had not made clear how Workday procures employees for other companies.

Mobley is attempting to show that Workday has violated Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex and national origin. However, he must also show that Workday is an “employment agency” to be covered by Title VII.

In his new complaint, Mobley says that by using the software platform, employers are handing over their authority to Workday to make hiring decisions. He is black, over 40 years old and has anxiety and depression.

His complaint says: “Because there are no guardrails to regulate Workday’s conduct, the algorithmic decision-making tools it utilises to screen out applicants provide a ready mechanism for discrimination.”

If it proceeds, the case could be one of the first globally to deal with legal issues raised by employers using AI-driven tools for HR decisions such as recruitment or promotion.

Workday has denied any wrongdoing and said it continues to review the risks of AI to ensure its products…

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