In 2023, we helped US employers overcome a host of new challenges across the employment law landscape. Many companies started the year with difficult cost-cutting decisions and hybrid work challenges. More recently, employers faced challenges around intense political discourse boiling over in the workplace. We’ve worked hard to keep our clients ahead of the curve on these
On October 30, 2023, President Biden issued a 63-page Executive Order to define the trajectory of artificial intelligence adoption, governance and usage within the United States government. The Executive Order outlines eight guiding principles and priorities for US federal agencies to adhere to as they adopt, govern and use AI. While safety and security are predictably high on the list, so too is a desire to make America a leader in the AI industry including AI development by the federal government. While executive orders are not a statute or regulation and do not require confirmation by Congress, they are binding and can have the force of law, usually based on existing statutory powers.
Instruction to Federal Agencies and Impact on Non-Governmental Entities
The Order directs a majority of federal agencies to address AI’s specific implications for their sectors, setting varied timelines ranging from 30 to 365 days for each applicable agency to implement specific requirements set forth in the Order.
The actions required of the federal agencies will impact non-government entities in a number of ways, because agencies will seek to impose contractual obligations to implement provisions of the Order or invoke statutory powers under the Defense Production Act for the national defense and the protection of critical infrastructure, including: (i) introducing reporting and other obligations for technology providers (both foundational model providers and IaaS providers); (ii) adding requirements for entities that work with the federal government in a contracting capacity; and (iii) influencing overall AI policy development.Continue Reading Biden’s Wide-Ranging Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence Sets Stage For Regulation, Investment, Oversight and Accountability
Baker McKenzie recently hosted industry leaders from Anthropic, Google Cloud and OpenAI in Palo Alto to discuss how in-house legal counsel can best reckon with the transformative power of GenAI.
Baker McKenzie partners joined the panel, sharing insights from their vantage point…
Recent and rapid artificial intelligence developments have captured public attention and much has been discussed around how organizations will need to prepare.
From an employment standpoint, the increasingly sophisticated potential for AI applications spans the entire employee lifecycle, from recruitment to onboarding, training and more.
In the second report in our Workforce Redesign: Outlooks …
The current increase in market volatility and heightened regulatory scrutiny has made for a treacherous landscape for multinational employers, and we’re here to help. Join us on October 18th in our New York office to connect on cutting-edge Employment & Compensation issues with a series of panel discussions, presentations and peer roundtables discussing the…
In Raines v. U.S. Healthworks Medical Group, the California Supreme Court expanded the definition of an “employer” under the state’s discrimination statute to include certain third-party business entities that perform employment-related functions on behalf of employers. These agents may now be deemed “employers” such that they can be directly liable for employment discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act for certain activities that they carry out on behalf of employers.
Overview of Raines
The Raines‘ plaintiffs were job applicants who received offers of employment that were conditioned on the successful completion of pre-employment medical screenings conducted by a third-party company that used automated decision-making. Plaintiffs alleged that the screening form contained intrusive questions regarding their medical history that violated FEHA. They brought claims against their employers, as well as the third-party provider that conducted the medical screening. The question for the Court was whether business entities acting as agents of an employer, can be considered “employers” under FEHA and held directly liable for FEHA violations caused by their actions.
The Court examined the plain language in FEHA’s definition of “employer” and concluded that the definition did indeed encompass third-party corporate agents like the medical provider in his case. FEHA defines an employer as “any person regularly employing five or more persons, or any person acting as an agent of an employer, directly or indirectly.” Here, the Court reasoned, recognizing the medical provider as an agent of the employer extended liability to the company most directly responsible for the FEHA violation.Continue Reading Automated Decision-Making and AI: California Expands FEHA Liability to Include Third-Party Business Agents of Employers
Special thanks to our Baker McKenzie speakers Danielle Benecke and Ben Allgrove, and Industry Experts Ashley Pantuliano, Associate General Counsel, OpenAI, Julian Tsisin, Global Legal & Compliance Technology, Meta, Janel Thamkul, Deputy General Counsel, Anthropic, and Suneil Thomas, Managing Counsel, Google Cloud AI.
Baker McKenzie is pleased to invite you to an…
New York may soon restrict employers and employment agencies from using fully-automated decision making tools to screen job candidates or make other employment decisions that impact the compensation, benefits, work schedule, performance evaluations, or other terms of employment of employees or independent contractors. Draft Senate Bill 7623, introduced August 4, aims to limit the use of such tools and requires human oversight of certain final decisions regarding hiring, promotion, termination, disciplinary, or compensation decisions. Senate Bill 7623 also significantly regulates the use of certain workplace monitoring technologies, going beyond the notice requirements for workplace monitoring operative in New York since May 2022 and introducing data minimization and proportionality requirements that are becoming increasingly common in US state privacy laws.
While there is not yet a federal law focused on AI (the Biden administration and federal agencies have issued guidance documents on AI use and are actively studying the issue), a number of cities and states have introduced bills or resolutions relating to AI in the workplace. These state and local efforts are all at different stages of the legislative process, with some paving the path for others. For example, New York City’s Local Law 144 took effect on July 5, prohibiting employers and employment agencies from using certain automated employment decision tools unless the tools have undergone a bias audit within one year of the use of the tools, information about the bias audit is publicly available, and certain notices have been provided to employees or job candidates (read more here).
If enacted, Senate Bill 7623 would take things much further. Here are some of the most significant implications of the draft legislation:Continue Reading Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: New York and Other States Have Big Plans For Employer Use of AI and Other Workplace Monitoring Tools
New York in the summer: warm days, Shakespeare in the Park, visits to the beach, and the end of the New York State legislative session–which often means a few surprises for New York employers. This summer, not only do employers have to contend with New York’s amended WARN Act regulations and the enforcement of New York City’s Automated Employment Decision Tool law (both now effective), they also have to keep a close eye on four New York State bills that have cleared both houses of the state legislature and could be signed by Governor Hochul–including one that would arguably be the nation’s broadest ban on employee noncompete agreements. We highlight two changes–and four that could be coming down the pike–New York employers should pay close attention to this summer.
Two to know
1. Amendments to New York’s WARN Act regulations now in effect.
New York State’s proposed amendments to its Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act regulations were adopted on June 21 and are now in effect. The definition of a covered employer has been expanded, remote employees must now be included in the threshold count, certain notices must include more information or be provided electronically, and exceptions for providing notice have changed (among other modifications). In addition, there’s a new York State Department of Labor WARN portal for employers to use for “a more streamlined user experience.” Want the details on the WARN Act regulation changes and some helpful tips for employers? See our prior blog here.
2. Enforcement of New York City’s Automated Employment Decision Tool law began July 5.
New York City’s Local Law 144 prohibits employers and employment agencies from using an automated employment decision tool to substantially assist certain employment decisions unless the tool has been subject to a bias audit within one year of the use of the tool, information about the bias audit is publicly available, and certain notices have been provided to employees or job candidates. Violations of the provisions of the law are subject to a civil penalty. Enforcement of the law began July 5, and employers need to be diligent. For those who haven’t done so yet, the first (and immediate) step is to take inventory of HR tech tools. Legal should partner with HR and IT to determine whether the company uses automated employment decision tools to make any employment decisions in a manner that triggers the law. See our prior blog here for additional steps to take, as well as further details on the law, penalties, and some practical tips for employers.
Four to watch
1. New York could become the fifth state to ban employee noncompetes.
On June 21, the New York State Assembly passed S3100 (already passed by the New York State Senate), which will be the most restrictive state-level ban on employers’ use of noncompetes to date if signed into law by Governor Hochul.
Under the bill, every contract that restrains anyone from engaging in a lawful profession, trade or business of any kind is void to the extent of such restraint.
The ban: The bill does not permit employers (or their agents) to “seek, require, demand, or accept a non-compete agreement” from a “covered individual.”
- A “non-compete agreement” is any agreement (or clause in an agreement) between an employer and a “covered individual” that prohibits or restricts the individual from obtaining employment after the conclusion of employment with the employer.
- A “covered individual” is “any other person” who performs work or services for another person on such terms and conditions that puts them in a position of economic dependence on and under an obligation to perform duties for that other person–regardless of whether they are employed under a contract of employment.
Just after the fireworks’ finale, New York City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection will begin enforcing its new ordinance regulating the use of automation and artificial intelligence in employment decisions. The DCWP recently issued a Notice of Adoption of Final Rule establishing that enforcement efforts will begin July 5, 2023.
Here are three reasons this matters
- The new law requires time-sensitive, significant actions (read: audits, notices and public reporting) from employers using automated employment decisions tools to avoid civil penalties;
- Company compliance will require a cross-functional response immediately, so it’s time to get your ducks in a row; and
- Since the City’s law is (mostly) first-of-its-kind, it is likely a harbinger of things to come for employers across the country and it could be used as a framework in other cities and states.
The law in a nutshell
Local Law 144 prohibits employers and employment agencies from using an automated employment decision tool unless the tool has been subject to a bias audit within one year of the use of the tool, information about the bias audit is publicly available, and certain notices have been provided to employees or job candidates. Violations of the provisions of the law are subject to a civil penalty.Continue Reading Enforcement of New York City’s Artificial Intelligence Rule Begins July 5, 2023: Here’s What Employers Need to Know