A new law in New York City, known as Local Law 144 or the “Automated Employment Decision Tools Law,” will soon come into effect. This law will substantially impact the ability of employers to use resume scanning software to make employment decisions, by forcing them to demonstrate the programs are unbiased in their decision making. The law will go into effect on April 15, at which point employers using these programs in NYC will need to comply with the law’s requirements.
What is this New Law? The Automated Employment Decision Tools Law will, upon taking effect, force employers in New York City to ensure that any resume scanning programs are unbiased in their selection process. This means, among other things, that employers must conduct a yearly “bias audit” to ensure that their software is unbiased, and they must publish the results of that audit publicly. In this way, employees are able to see if the selection process for the employer is truly unbiased or not. What is Resume Scanning? Resume scanning is the practice of employers using automated software to scan resumes of prospective employees looking for positions at their organization. These programs are able to quickly scan resumes for potential suitability for a position, including searching for specific words and phrases to include or exclude. In this way, employers can easily sort through large numbers of resumes without needing to read each one individually. Why Was This Law Necessary? Unfortunately, many resume scanning tools have been found to have implicit bias in their decision making, often throwing out the resumes of people of color or other marginalized groups. This led to many people effectively being locked out of position before their resume could be read by a live human being, creating a discriminatory effect. This law is meant to crack down on the impact of these tools by ensuring they are unbiased in their decision-making process. How Could This Affect You? For some employees who may have struggled to find a job, this new law could make it easier to get in front of an employer for an interview. It requires employers that use resume scanning technology to adjust their practices in a way that can benefit many people who often suffer from employment discrimination. This does not mean that other forms of discrimination might not have an effect, only that it will be easier to get a foot in the door. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at legalstratpub.com. To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.