On Tuesday, April 25, 2023, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division (“DOJ”), and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a “Joint Statement on Enforcement Efforts Against Discrimination and Bias in Automated System” (“Joint Statement”).  According to a press release from the EEOC, by the Joint Statement, the federal agencies pledged to uphold America’s commitment to the core principles of fairness, equality, and justice as emerging automated systems, including those sometimes marketed as “artificial intelligence,” or “AI,” become increasingly common in people’s daily lives – impacting civil rights, fair competition, consumer protection, and equal opportunity.

The EEOC, CFPB, DOJ, and FTC have previously expressed concerns about potentially harmful uses of automated systems.  While the Joint Statement does not indicate future regulatory action, all four agencies resolved to vigorously enforce their collective existing legal authorities and to monitor the development and use of automated systems.  The Joint Statement does not otherwise identify any specific actions the agencies will take regarding their respective future “enforcement efforts.”

Companies using or considering using automated systems for employment related purposes should view the Joint Statement as further confirmation that federal agencies, including the EEOC, CFPB, DOJ, and FTC, will continue scrutinizing automated systems and AI used in the workplace, to ensure that they do not discriminate against employees based on their legally protected characteristics or status.  Accordingly, before implementing workplace automated systems and AI, companies should affirmatively take steps to make sure that the tools are compliant with the laws enforced by the EEOC, CFPB, DOJ, and FTC, as well as the current and emerging state and local laws.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. will continue to monitor and report on developments in this rapidly developing area of the law.