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Increasing use of AI can result in pregnancy discrimination

Navigating pregnancy and workplace practices is challenging for Texas employees and businesses alike. Pregnancy discrimination, while illegal under state and federal law, continues to remain a harsh reality. While several anti-discrimination measures regarding pregnancy have been codified in the last few years, the use of artificial intelligence could potentially represent a step backward for workers.

How employers use AI

Approximately 83% of employers now use AI or other automated tools in their hiring process. Although using AI algorithms to rule out specific candidates because of pregnancy would represent blatant employment discrimination, companies could program algorithms in such a way that could accomplish the same thing. For example, looking for workers who take little time off for illness or doctors’ appointments would classify them as good employees. However, pregnancy-related time off or doctor visits could also fall into this category and unfairly label some women as bad workers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently warned businesses not to use algorithms in such a manner.

Yet, identifying and eradicating discrimination resulting from AI is a challenging task. The breadth of data available on all individuals is so vast that many different ones can be used as a proxy to discriminate against pregnant women.

Employment discrimination is commonplace

More workers face employment discrimination than most people realize. Whether it’s pregnancy, race, or another factor, employers have become increasingly savvy in preventing certain employees from moving up in their company or even preventing some individuals from working for them. Such employment practices continue to remain illegal but may be difficult to ascertain.

If you believe your employer has discriminated against you because of pregnancy, you may have recourse. Keeping thorough records of your company’s actions can help in filing a charge and gaining justice for your situation.