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Federal Government Ramps Up Commitment to Fairness, Equity in Use of AI

man with glasses stares at chatbot screen

Several federal agencies released a joint statement on April 4 committing to protect the public from unlawful bias in the use of artificial intelligence and other automated systems in the workplace.

The entities that made the commitment are the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Justice, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Labor.

“Many automated systems rely on vast amounts of data to find patterns or correlations, and then apply those patterns to new data to perform tasks or make recommendations and predictions,” the statement said. “While these tools can be useful, they also have the potential to produce outcomes that result in unlawful discrimination.”

The statement noted that AI-related discrimination can take different forms:

  • Data and datasets may contain errors that lead to bias.
  • Some automated systems lack transparency, which often makes it difficult for users to know whether the technology is fair.
  • Developers may design a system on the basis of flawed assumptions about its users.

SHRM Online gathered additional news on this topic.

Agencies Have Already Begun Fighting Discrimination

In the April 4 statement, several federal agencies outlined their track record in preventing workplace discrimination. For example, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs holds contractors and subcontractors that do business with the federal government responsible for complying with the legal requirement to take affirmative action and not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.

(Department of Labor)

Biden Issues Executive Order on AI

​President Joe Biden signed a first-of-its-kind executive order in October 2023 to try to ensure AI evolves in a way that can maximize its potential but limit its risks. The order requires developers of the most powerful AI systems to share internal testing data with the government to ensure safety before public release. The Department of Commerce will develop guidance for content authentication—clearly labeling AI-generated content to protect against AI-enabled fraud.

(SHRM Online)

White House Issues Policy to Reduce Risk, Enhance Benefits of AI

As part of Biden’s AI executive order, Vice President Kamala Harris announced on March 28 that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was issuing its first governmentwide policy to mitigate the risks of AI and harness its benefits. The order directed sweeping action to strengthen AI safety and security, protect privacy, advance equity and civil rights, stand up for consumers and workers, promote innovation and competition, advance U.S. leadership around the world, and more.

(The White House)

White House Orders Federal Agencies to Name Chief AI Officers

The White House also ordered all federal agencies to name chief artificial intelligence officers to oversee the federal government’s various approaches to AI and manage the risks that the rapidly evolving technologies might pose.

(CBS News)


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.