AI Screening of Pandemic Job Seekers Opens Door for Bias Claims

June 30, 2020, 5:53 PM

Here are the day’s top coronavirus stories from the team at Bloomberg Law:

  • AI HIRING TOOLS: Companies are making more use of algorithmic hiring tools to screen a flood of job applicants during the coronavirus pandemic amid questions about whether they introduce new forms of bias into the early vetting process. The tools are designed to more efficiently filter out candidates who don’t meet certain job-related criteria, but that efficiency comes with a price, attorneys and technologists say.
  • AID DEADLINE: Companies have until midnight today to apply for the loans made available by the Paycheck Protection Program, administered by the Small Business Administration to help businesses manage payrolls amid the economic turmoil caused by Covid-19. The SBA blocks bankrupt companies from applying for the loans, a rule that has triggered lawsuits. That’s left some companies navigating the waters between the PPP and reorganizing their businesses to survive.
  • VACCINE TESTS: Covid-19 vaccine tests should include racial and ethnic minorities, pregnant women, and patients with underlying health conditions, the FDA said, echoing calls from patient advocates to broaden the pool of participants. The Food and Drug Administration released guidance Tuesday that laid out the criteria for companies like Moderna Inc., Sanofi, and Johnson & Johnson to put their vaccines on the market.
  • M&A FREEFALL: The value of mergers and acquisitions fell 50% in the first half from the year-earlier period to the lowest level since the depths of the euro-zone debt crisis, as the pandemic brought global dealmaking to an abrupt halt. Little more than $1 trillion of deals have been announced this year, making for the slowest first half since 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Editor’s Top Picks

Pandemic Can’t Stop New Employer Mandates in Virginia, NY, NJ
The midyear mark routinely serves as the effective date for a long list of state and local laws. While the Covid-19 pandemic restricted state legislative activities this spring, businesses still will see a number of new requirements ranging from an employee scheduling ordinance in Chicago to a ban on forced microchip implants in Indiana.

States Pressured to Waive Bar Exam for New Lawyers in Pandemic
The spread of Covid-19 across the country has lawyers-in-training and some school administrators calling for states to implement an “emergency diploma privilege,” waiving the multi-day test attorneys are generally required to pass before joining the bar.

Covid-19 Fears Spur More Cars on Roads, Threatening Air Quality
Officials across the nation are worried that as the coronavirus pandemic persists, commuters will avoid taking buses and trains, and opt for their cars, potentially leading to dangerous new levels of air pollution.

White House Debuts 2020 Regulatory Playbook After Virus Delay
A comprehensive list of all regulations federal agencies plan to advance or cut over the next year was released by the White House Office of Management and Budget Tuesday. The administration has taken 740 administrative actions in response to the pandemic, many of them deregulatory, OMB said in a statement.

EPA’s Pandemic-Related Enforcement Relaxation to End in August
The EPA will end its relaxed enforcement policy in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Aug. 31. Since the policy was put in place, new federal guidelines have been issued to support the public health response and economic recovery efforts, Susan Parker Bodine, the EPA’s assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assistance, wrote in a memo dated Monday.

Virus Labor Market Destruction Is Proving Worse Than Anticipated
The damage inflicted on the global labor market by the coronavirus is proving worse than initially estimated and will be impossible to repair in the second half of 2020 even under the most optimistic scenario, according to the International Labour Organization.

Virus Threat Grows in U.S. Where Millions Lost Health Coverage
As a second coronavirus wave threatens America, millions are stranded without health insurance after losing their jobs when the disease first hit. More than half the U.S. population relied on the workplace for health coverage, before a pandemic that’s triggered record job losses worldwide.

Walmart, Humana Expand Coronavirus Testing at Smaller Stores
Humana Inc. is expanding access to Covid-19 testing at hundreds of new drive-through sites at Walmart Inc. stores, as well as offering at-home tests to members. The initiatives come amid reports of hours-long waits for tests as coronavirus cases surge in many southern and western states.

Virus Testing Shortfalls Cause Lines to Build in Hard-Hit States
In new hot spots like Arizona, Texas and Florida, lines for testing extend outside of urgent-care offices and other sites. Two high-school football stadiums in Houston regularly hit capacity by mid-morning and have to turn people away.

N.Y.-Area Self-Quarantine Order Grows to Visitors From 16 States
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have doubled their quarantine list to include 16 states from which visitors are unwelcome unless they help prevent spread of the novel coronavirus.

Contact-Tracing Apps Fail to Deliver on Tech Boosters’ Promises
As Covid-19 spread, sending almost every country into some form of lockdown, governments began to wonder how best to keep track of the deadly virus. Contact-tracing apps seemed a sensible solution.

INSIGHT: Covid-19 Is No Excuse to Violate Californians’ Privacy Rights
More changes are needed to the California Consumer Privacy Act to protect consumers’ data privacy, especially in light of Big Tech data tracking for Covid-19. Laura Antonini, policy director of #REPRESENT, a project of the nonprofit Consumer Education Foundation, describes her quest for her own information from 24 companies under the CCPA.

Click here for updates on how federal courts are operating during the pandemic.

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Editor’s Note: The Bloomberg Law news team has been closely covering the legal, regulatory, business, and tax implications of the coronavirus pandemic. This daily email highlights the top stories of the day, across practice areas. To unsubscribe, please adjust your Bloomberg Law newsletter settings. For assistance, contact our help desk at 888-560-2529 or help@bloomberglaw.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghashyam Mali in Washington at mmali@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessica Coomes at jcoomes@bloomberglaw.com; Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com;

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