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Will proposed change to state law minimize hiring discrimination?

Job applicant screening has become increasingly automated. Not only does this help make the process more efficient for employers, but it can also help minimize the effect of human biases and discrimination or hiring. Last year, over 90% of employers used recruiting management systems (RMS) and automatic tracking systems (ATS) software to filter out unqualified candidates and rank those who remain.

The algorithms in these systems, however, could still potentially lead to discrimination against candidates in protected classes – intentionally or unintentionally. That’s the reasoning behind a proposed change to California employment law that would prohibit their use for applicants in these classes. The proposed changes would also increase the amount of record retention related to these systems by employers.

Problems with the proposed changes

Critics of the proposed changes argue that the language is too broad and that it includes systems that are more commonly used for other purposes besides hiring. They also argue that the changes wouldn’t actually prevent bias in hiring.

The proposed changes have a long way to go before they are incorporated into law – if they ever are. So why should job applicants care about them?

It’s important to understand that just because an employer uses automated screening systems in their hiring, that doesn’t mean that candidates may not be discriminated against because of a protected trait like race, gender or age. Even the most sophisticated systems aren’t perfect, and humans still make the final hiring decisions.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of such discrimination, find out what your rights are and what recourse you may have.  

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