Hiring Fairly in the Age of Algorithms
33 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2021
Date Written: December 12, 2019
Widespread developments in automation have reduced the need for human input. However, despite the increased power of machine learning, in many contexts these programs make decisions that are problematic. Biases within data and opaque models have amplified human prejudices, giving rise to such tools as Amazon’s (now defunct) experimental hiring algorithm, which was found to consistently downgrade resumes when the word “women’s” was added before an activity.
This article critically surveys the existing legal and technological landscape surrounding algorithmic hiring. We argue that the negative impact of hiring algorithms can be mitigated by greater transparency from the employers to the public, which would enable civil advocate groups to hold employers accountable, as well as allow the U.S. Department of Justice to litigate. Our main contribution is a framework for automated hiring transparency, algorithmic transparency reports, which employers using automated hiring software would be required to publish by law. We also explain how existing regulations in employment and trade secret law can be extended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Congress to accommodate these reports.
Keywords: machine learning, fairness, transparency, hiring, algorithmic justice
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