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Will AI lead to more pregnancy discrimination?

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2024 | Protected Class Employees, Workplace Discrimination

Most Rhode Island companies are not allowed to discriminate against workers based on their family status. However, as employers continue to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) programs to help with hiring or other employment decisions, it’s possible that companies will discriminate even if they don’t mean to. Ultimately, you could lose out on a job simply because you’re pregnant or have recently given birth.

AI only makes objective decisions

One of the key limitations of an AI program is that it isn’t good at subjective thinking. For example, let’s say an employer uses employment history as a filter when analyzing applications. That employer may tell the AI program to filter out applications of those who have significant gaps in their employment history. However, if someone has just given birth, that might explain why that applicant has been out of work for several months. Of course, the AI program won’t know that and will simply disregard that applicant in spite of state or federal laws.

Software learns more about you

It’s possible for AI programs to gain more information about you than you think. For instance, they may be able to learn more about your browsing habits or the pages that you interact with on social media sites. Ultimately, this can be used to infer that you are pregnant, which could result in a company overlooking your resume.

Proving pregnancy discrimination

It’s not always obvious when a company engages in discriminatory behavior. However, you may be able to obtain employment records or use comments made during the hiring process as a basis for your claims. If you are terminated from your current position while on leave or just after coming back, that may also be perceived as discrimination against a candidate.

If you believe that you have lost a job because of workplace discrimination, you can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Assuming the claim is substantiated, the EEOC will file a lawsuit or authorize you to file on your own.