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Berkeley Technology Law Journal




Berkeley Tech L.J.

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This Article deploys the new business practice of automated video interviewing as a case study to illuminate the limitations of traditional employment antidiscrimination laws. Employment antidiscrimination laws are inadequate to address the unlawful discrimination attributable to emerging workplace technologies which gatekeep employment opportunities. The Article maintains that the practice of automated video interviewing is based on shaky or unproven social scientific principles that disproportionately impact racial minorities. In this way, the practice of automated video interviewing is analogous to the pseudoscience of phrenology, which enabled societal and economic exclusion through the legitimization of eugenicist and racist attitudes. After parsing the limitations of traditional antidiscrimination law to curtail emerging workplace technologies such as video interviewing, this Article argues that ex ante legal regulations, such as those derived from the late Professor Joel Reidenberg’s Lex Informatica framework, may be more effective than ex post remedies derived from the traditional employment antidiscrimination law regime.

The Article argues that one major benefit of applying a Lex Informatica framework to video interviewing is developing legislation that considers the technology’s capabilities rather than how actors intend to use it. In the case of automated hiring, such an approach would mean actively using the Uniform Guideline on Employee Selection Procedures to govern the design of automated hiring systems. For example, the guidelines could dictate design features for the collection of personal information and treatment of content. Other frameworks, such as Professor Pamela Samuelson’s “privacy as trade secrecy” approach could govern design features for how information from automated video interviewing systems may be transported and shared. Rather than reifying techno-solutionism, a focus on the technological capabilities of automated decision-making systems offers the opportunity for regulation to start at inception, which in turn could affect the design and development of the technology. This is a preemptive approach that sets standards for how the technology will be used and is a more proactive legal approach than merely addressing the negative consequences of the technology after they have occurred.

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