Employers warned to be careful over use of AI

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has issued a warning to employers regarding the use of AI following the outcome of a case involving UberEats.

The case centred round Uber Eats driver, Pa Edrissa Manjang, who repeatedly ran into difficulties with the UberEats verification system, which relied on facial recognition tools, when trying to access the app to secure work.

Matters came to a head in 2021 when Uber Eats removed Mr Manjang from their platform after a recognition check and subsequent automated process failed. Uber Eats claimed to have found 'continued mismatches' when analysing the photos he had taken to access the platform.  

Representing Manjang, lawyers contended that Uber Eats had not “made Mr Manjang aware of the processes that led to his suspension from the app, nor provided an effective route to challenge this decision”. The case settled out of court, and Manjang was reinstated as a driver, receiving a financial payout from UberEats. 

Where employers do rely on AI, they should ensure that clear processes are in place, and that any technologies used are implemented in a way that is transparent, fair and non-discriminatory, and that complies with any regulatory requirements.

While on the subject of AI, any businesses who interact with the EU will also want to be mindful of the implications of the upcoming EU AI Act, thought to be coming into force in June 2024. It applies to providers, importers and distributors of AI systems and imposes new obligations assessed on a risk-based matrix.

Posted on 05/09/2024 by Ortolan

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