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ACR-125 Bias and discrimination in hiring reduction through new technology. (2019-2020)

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Amended  IN  Assembly  September 04, 2019


Assembly Concurrent Resolution
No. 125

Introduced by Assembly Members Jones-Sawyer and Holden
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Kamlager-Dove and Low)
(Coauthor: Senator Lena Gonzalez)

August 14, 2019

Relative to employment.


ACR 125, as amended, Jones-Sawyer. Bias and discrimination in hiring reduction through new technology.
This measure would urge policy makers policymakers in both federal and state government to explore ways to promote the development and use of new technologies to reduce bias and discrimination in hiring and help reduce discrimination in employment in California, as provided.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, The State of California has one of the world’s most diverse populations, with citizens from a wide variety of ethnic, racial, and national backgrounds. No single race or ethnic group constitutes a majority of the state’s population, and 39 percent of residents are Latino, 14 percent are Asian American, 6 percent are African American, and 3 percent identify as multiracial; and
WHEREAS, The current laws of this state protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all persons to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination on account of certain protected characteristics, including race, ethnic group, or sex; and
WHEREAS, The current laws of this state permit employers to utilize tests and other selection procedures for purposes of hiring or promotion, provided the tests and selection procedures do not have an unlawful discriminatory impact; and
WHEREAS, Under current state law, a test or other selection procedure that has an adverse impact on employment opportunities for individuals on the basis of race, ethnic group, or sex is unlawful unless the employer establishes that the test or selection procedure is job-related and consistent with business necessity. In addition, under current law, an employer that utilizes a test or other selection procedure must, prior to implementation of the test or selection procedure, investigate valid alternatives and must opt for the alternative that poses the lowest risk of discriminatory impact; and
WHEREAS, Many commonly used selection procedures fail to ensure unbiased decisionmaking and also yield poor outcomes for employers. A 2014 report by the Harvard Business Review found that résumés were in fact the worst predictor of job success of any of the employment selection tools studied; and
WHEREAS, Despite laws prohibiting employment discrimination, a 2017 study reported in the Harvard Business Review analyzing discrimination trends found that hiring discrimination against Black workers in the United States has not declined in the last quarter century, and has declined only slightly for Latino workers. Since According to the study, since 1990, White applicants received, on average, 36 percent more callbacks than Black applicants and 24 percent more callbacks than Latino applicants with identical résumés; and
WHEREAS, Research published in the Harvard Business Review found that the country’s most prestigious employers limited their campus recruiting efforts to the most elite institutions, which has the effect of excluding many lower income and minority students from consideration; and
WHEREAS, A 2017 study by Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights group found that 25 percent of the wealthiest American students attend an elite college, while less than 0.5 percent of children from the bottom fifth of American families attend an elite college. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics found Black and Latino students were more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities in 2017 than they had been 35 years before; and
WHEREAS, Innovative technologies for hiring and promotion, including artificial intelligence and algorithm-based technologies, have the potential to reduce bias and discrimination in hiring and promotion based on protected characteristics, as well as helping where appropriate to reduce bias based on unprotected characteristics, such as socioeconomic status or status as a formerly incarcerated person. At the same time, these technologies can help employers reach larger and more diverse pools of qualified talent and better identify candidates with the right skills and abilities to succeed; and
WHEREAS, California should be the leader in the appropriate standards that are necessary to ensure that the technologies being developed and used will reduce employment bias and discrimination, while achieving better employment outcomes and ensuring equal opportunity to economic mobility; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature urges policymakers in federal and state government to explore ways to promote the development and use of new technologies that will reduce bias and discrimination in hiring, help employers find the best-suited candidates based on objective factors, and help ensure that all persons who seek, obtain, and hold employment in this state are able to do so free of discrimination; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.