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Councilmember Busciano Introduces Fair Hiring Software Motion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 10, 2020

Contact: Branimir Kvartuc

213-248-7954 | branimir.kvartuc@lacity.org

LOS ANGELES- Today, Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino introduced a motion to promote fair hiring practices, an important step in addressing potential systemic bias in employment decisions as Los Angeles looks to rebuild and help residents get back to work. The motion calls for transparency in the automated hiring assessment industry so that employers have critical information about whether tools perform fairly across race, ethnicity, and gender.

Los Angeles has lost more than 500,000 jobs due to the economic fallout of COVID-19. The data indicates that, as with previous economic downturns, women and people of color are suffering the most.

“Our City is facing significant economic hardship and our most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities continue to be disproportionately burdened,” said Councilmember Buscaino. “If we want a recovery that prioritizes shared prosperity and economic inclusion, we need greater transparency and fairness in the hiring and re-hiring processes. The Fair Hiring Software Motion is a critical step forward in achieving this.”

The motion requests report backs to establish standards for third-party automated employment selection tools, including the possibility of requiring vendors to:

  • Proactively test their products for fairness, meaning equity of selection rates across race and gender groups;

  • Share the results of annual fairness tests with employers using their tools; and

  • Label hiring tools such that applicants are informed that they are being assessed, and for what purpose.

Many newly-unemployed Los Angeles residents were already at a disadvantage in the workforce. Whether or not the situation worsens for vulnerable communities is largely dependent on how employers approach rehiring during the recovery. Employers are increasingly turning to technology to help screen large volumes of candidates remotely. When employers want to use a tool to remotely screen large numbers of candidates, they need reliable information about which tools will help them identify diverse candidates, and which are more likely to preserve the status quo.

“People are increasingly waking up to the employment disparities that have existed since long before COVID-19,” said Maria Alexander, the Executive Director of the Center for Living and Learning, a social enterprise in the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE). “The Fair Hiring Software Motion marks a tide change from our history that disproportionately shut out women and minority candidates.”

The Center for Living and Learning and the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership are members of the Fair Hiring for California Coalition, a large and diverse group of social justice and community organizations advocating for policies that prioritize and proactively prevent bias in hiring. The coalition includes the Los Angeles Region organizations CA Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Latin Business Association, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, LA Latino Chamber of Commerce, New Earth, SLATE-Z, Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California, T.R.U.S.T. South LA and YWCA Greater Los Angeles.

“We have been energized to see that Los Angeles, and indeed California at large, is ready to confront inequality in our society,” said Troy Vaughn, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership, who was formerly incarcerated and a homeless veteran living on Skid Row. “Now is the time to update our 20th-Century policies to reflect the possibilities of 21st-Century technology. The Fair Hiring Software Motion is an important step in the right direction.”

Follow Los Angeles City Councilmember @JoeBuscaino on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit LA15th.com.

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