In November 2021, the New York City Council passed Intro. 1894, a bill to regulate AI in hiring. As noted in the official bill summary, the bill, which passed 38-4-0-6, will
require that an employer or an employment agency conduct a bias audit on an automated employment decision tool no more than one year prior to any use of such tool for an employment decision. A summary of the results of such bias audit would be required to be made publicly available on the website of the employer, or employment agency, prior to such use. The bill would also require that candidates or employees that reside in the city be notified no less than 10 days in advance about the use of such tool in any forthcoming assessment or evaluation for hire or promotion, as well as, be notified about the job qualifications and characteristics that will be used by the automated employment decision tool. Such candidates or employees would also be permitted to request certain additional information about such tool. Any person that violates the provisions of the bill would be subject to a civil penalty.
The bill was introduced by Councilwoman Laure Cumbo (D-Queens/Crown Heights), the council majority leader. The bill is co-sponsored by 22 of the 50 council members, including two of the six members of the committee of referral, and one-third of the three-member Republican Caucus. CDIA wrote a letter to the committee for the hearing of the original bill. The hearing has substantially more witnesses supporting the measure than opposing it.
The bill was modified along the way. As introduced, as noted in the official summary, the bill would have
regulate[d] the use of automated employment decision tools…that use algorithmic methodologies to filter candidates for hire or to make decisions regarding any other term, condition or privilege of employment. This bill would [have] prohibit[ed] the sale of such tools if they were not the subject of an audit for bias in the past year prior to sale, were not sold with a yearly bias audit service at no additional cost, and were not accompanied by a notice that the tool is subject to the provisions of this bill.
This bill would [have] also require[d] any person who uses automated employment assessment tools for hiring and other employment purposes to disclose to candidates, within 30 days, when such tools were used to assess their candidacy for employment, and the job qualifications or characteristics for which the tool was used to screen. Violations of the provisions of the bill would incur a penalty.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More