iTutorGroup, a China-based online tutoring platform, has reached an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commiddion (EEOC), which alleged that the company used artificial intelligence (AI)- powered hiring software to unlawfully discriminate against older job applicants, as reported by Reuters on August 10. The lawsuit, initiated in 2022, asserted that in 2020, iTutorGroup programmed its online recruitment software to filter out female applicants aged 55 or older and male applicants aged 60 or older. To resolve these allegations, iTutorGroup has agreed to pay a total of USD365,000 to over 200 job applicants who experienced age-related discrimination during the hiring process.
This lawsuit signifies the EEOC’s first case addressing a company’s utilization of AI for employment decisions. The agency launched an initiative in 2021 aimed at ensuring that AI software employed by US employers adheres to anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC has also indicated its intention to closely scrutinize companies that misuse AI in their hiring practices. Recent research indicates that at least 85% of major US employers incorporate AI in various aspects of their recruitment processes. This encompasses software that pre-screens candidates prior to human assessment, human resources “chatbots,” and systems involved in performance evaluations and promotion recommendations. Moreover, in a pending proposed class action in California federal court, US-based human capital management Workday [WDAY:US] also faces allegations of developing hiring software for many large companies that systematically excludes Black, disabled, and older applicants.