The tutoring company iTutorGroup has agreed to pay $365,000 to more than 200 job applicants who may have experienced age discrimination after being rejected by its AI hiring software. 

The original suit was filed against the group in 2022 by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC). 

In its complaint the EEOC alleges that iTutorGroup deliberately trained its AI recruitment software to reject candidates above a certain age. 

Female candidates were rejected automatically if they were aged above 55, while male candidates above 60 were rejected.  

According to the EEOC, the estimated 200 rejected applicants were qualified for the tutor roles they were applying for and therefore suffered age-based discrimination. 

“Age discrimination is unjust and unlawful,” EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows stated back in 2022, “Even when technology automates the discrimination, the employer is still responsible.” 

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By GlobalData

The tutoring group, which hires thousands of language tutors across the US, has reportedly denied any malpractice in the settlement. 

In its statement regarding bias within AI, the EEOC states that companies using AI recruitment software must acknowledge the weight of automating “critical decisions” that affect people’s livelihoods and opportunities. 

The EEOC told Verdict that it is refraining to comment until the judge signs off on iTutorGroup’s settlement.

AI is already being widely used in a range of businesses. 

According to a recent GlobalData survey, around 17% of businesses stated that they had a very high adoption of AI as of August 2023.  

A further 28% answered that they were very confident to integrate ChatGPT into business workflows and systems. 

Senior analyst Maya Sherman explains that AI tools are a “notable component of modern recruitment processes globally.” 

She notes that using AI software can help the scope and scale of traditional recruitment, whilst also “bypassing the physical limitations of human hiring managers” and enabling faster data transmission across the recruitment lifestyle. 

“Nonetheless,” Sherman says, “deploying AI tools has gained criticism, due to its amplification of candidate biases in recruitment.” 

In Sherman’s opinion, businesses wanting to incorporate AI into their recruitment must rely on “human-machine collaboration.” 

Businesses using AI tools must still moderate the AI they are using to mitigate potential biases against minority candidates. 

Sherman does not see AI overtaking the recruitment process soon. 

She still believes it is “critical” that the final hiring stages for a job are predominantly human-driven and “enable AI-driven empowerment in the more operational aspects.” 

The responsibility still lies with human recruiters to ensure that AI bias within the hiring process is avoided.