Discrimination by algorithm in recruitment
Artificial intelligence (AI) can have huge benefits, but may also be discriminatory. There are dangers it may discriminate against disabled people, including those who stammer, when used in recruitment.
A particular concern is where AI software assesses a recorded interview done on the job applicant’s computer or smartphone, giving a recommendation to the employer on whether the candidate should proceed to the next stage.
Practise interviews for people who stammer
50 Million Voices are offering free online practise interviews on 21st and 22nd October 2020.
A student is looking for people to take part in her research project on How has social distancing affected people who stammer? (stamma.org), Sept 2020. Added to my page Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Face masks/coverings and stammering updated, including:
- New rules from 24th September in England that provisions exempting staff from wearing a face covering under the regulations do not apply for retail, leisure and hospitality staff (eg shops, bars, libraries) in specified circumstances. Also there are particular requirements for staff such as hairdressers and beauticians providing close contact services. See Face masks/coverings and stammering>Do regulations require a face covering for staff?
- From 23rd September, new requirement to wear a face covering in taxis and private hire vehicles in England.
- New section Reasonable excuse: speaking to someone who relies on “clear sound” to communicate.
- Stamma in the UK are aiming to produce face masks telling people you stammer. Let Stamma know what you want at surveymonkey.com.
Knowledge of occupational health practitioner
Section on Knowledge of occupational health practitioner (OH) expanded and updated. Knowledge of what you tell OH is not normally attributed to the employer, unless OH has consent to disclose. So just telling OH does not mean the employer knows about it for the purposes of the Equality Act. Similarly writing something in a pre-employment health questionnaire does not mean the employer knows about it, as the answers will probably be confidential to OH.
Also, on the relevance of an OH opinion which says there is no disability even though the tribunal decides there is one: Knowledge of facts, even if an employer wrongly advised it is not a disability updated by adding Donelien v Liberata 2018 and a note of Kelly v Royal Mail 2019.
If disability is employer’s fault, or worsened by employer’s actions
With a stammer starting in adulthood, it may be something at work which causes the stammer. I’ve expanded Disability: Stammering starting in adulthood>If disability is the employer’s fault, including the 2015 cases of McAdie v Royal Bank of Scotland and Monmouthshire County County Council v Harris.
DWP v Boyers: outcome rather than procedure in justificaton defence?
A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case indicates that on a claim under s.15 EqA, a tribunal should not decide the justification defence on the basis of whether the employer followed the right decision-making process. However I suggest that the decision-making process is still important in practice. See Objective justification defence>Outcome rather than procedure?
Some reasonable adjustments cases – relatively old
British Telecommunications v Meier, Northern Ireland Court of Appeal, 2019
A job applicant was at a disadvantage in a situational judgment test because he had Asperger’s syndrome. This test was the initial stage in the recruitment process. The employer refused to interview him when he failed it. The court held this was a failure to make reasonable adjustments. It did not matter that the claimant had not suggested at the time what reasonable adjustment he wanted.
Government Legal Service v Brookes, EAT, 2017
A job applicant with Asperger’s syndrome asked the employer to allow her to give narrative answers in an assessment as part of a highly competitive recruitment process. She said the normal system of selecting from multiple choice answers put her at a disadvantage. The employer refused. The EAT upheld her claim for disability discrimination.
Home Office v Kuranchie, EAT, 2017
The claimant had dyspraxia and dyslexia. She was having to work long hours to get her work done. A flexible working arrangement was put in place. She later claimed the employer should have reduced her workload by way of reasonable adjustment. He claim was upheld even though she had not suggested this at the time.
Project Management Institute v Latif, EAT, 2007
There was held to be a failure to make reasonable adjustments for a professional exam. This was so even though the claimant had not identified the particular adjustment at the time of the exam. However a potentially reasonable adjustment, or at least its broad nature, should be identified by the time of the hearing. It is then for the employer etc to show the adjustment is not reasonable.
- My journey to becoming ‘The Stammering Communicator’ (stamma.org) – sales and marketing consultant. debbiejollie.com.
X v Y, EAT, 2019 and a mention of Fallows v News Groups Newspapers, 2016, added to Online tribunal decision database, and anonymity orders.
Voice recognition system to phone in sick
If an employee who stammers is unable to use this system, the employer is likely to be required to offer an alternative, as a reasonable adjustment: Examples of reasonable adjustments: In the job>Telephone: Not having to phone in sick.
- Previous updates: Website updates July to August 2020.