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By: Richard R. Meneghello, Sarah J. Moore, and John T. Lai, Fisher & Phillips LLP
This article provides guidance and best practices for counseling employers on the legal implications of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and robots into their workplaces.
Thanks to recent technological advances, AI algorithms and robots are developing the sophistication to displace human employees, causing many employers to engage in mass layoffs and reductions in force. For instance, Goldman Sachs recently laid off nearly 600 equity traders whose work has largely been supplanted by automated trading programs and a team of computer engineers.1
As employers continue to pursue disruptive technologies like AI and robotics that can reduce workforces, unions and employees will mount legal challenges in an effort to protect their positions. To ensure employers can implement these technologies with minimal repercussions, you should assess their risks and liabilities and help them put together a strategic plan. Consider the following measures to avoid liability from layoffs caused by AI and robotics.
To read the full practice note in Lexis Practice Advisor, follow this link.
Richard R. Meneghello is the Publications Partner for Fisher Phillips. He develops legal alerts, web articles, newsletter features, and blog posts for the Fisher Phillips website. Rich is also an accomplished litigator. He won a unanimous decision before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Albertsons v. Kirkingburg, an Americans with Disabilities Act case, as well as cases for clients at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Oregon Supreme Court, and the Oregon Court of Appeals, along with trial victories in both state and federal courts. Sarah Moore is a partner at Fisher Phillips, in its Cleveland office. She enjoys a robust practice that crosses industries in the private and public sectors and routinely incorporates the insights and best practices from this diversity in experience into her work. Sarah thrives on handling highly sensitive and challenging issues and regularly works hand-in-hand with her clients addressing the full spectrum of labor and employment concerns. John T. Lai is an associate in the firm’s Irvine office. He practices in all areas of labor and employment law. John has experience in intellectual property matters, unfair competition, and complex litigation.
For more information on voluntary separation programs and alternatives to reductions in force (RIFS), see
> ALTERNATIVES TO REDUCTIONS IN FORCE (RIFS)
RESEARCH PATH: Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation > Employment, Independent Contractor, and Severance Agreements > Executive Separation Agreements & Severance Plans > Practice Notes
For a discussion of drafting separation agreements, see
> SEPARATION AGREEMENTS: DRAFTING AND NEGOTIATION TIPS (PRO-EMPLOYER)
RESEARCH PATH: Labor & Employment > Discrimination and Retaliation > Claims and Investigations > Practice Notes
For information on state laws concerning RIFs, see
> THE MASS LAYOFF AND PLANT CLOSING LAWS COLUMN IN INVESTIGATIONS, DISCIPLINE, AND TERMINATIONS STATE PRACTICE NOTES CHART
RESEARCH PATH: Labor & Employment > Investigations, Discipline, and Terminations > Discharge and Layoffs/RIFs > Practice Notes
For an overview of requirements under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), see
> WARN ACT COMPLIANCE CHECKLIST
RESEARCH PATH: Labor & Employment > Investigations, Discipline and Terminations > Discharge and Layoffs/RIFs > Checklists
For best practices on drafting policies concerning employee privacy when using electronic devices, including a sample policy, see
> CREATING POLICIES ON COMPUTERS, MOBILE PHONES, AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES
RESEARCH PATH: Labor & Employment > Employment Policies > Company Property and Electronic Information > Practice Notes
For more information on the risks of wearable technology, see
> UNDERSTANDING EMPLOYMENT PRIVACY ISSUES UNDER FEDERAL LAW
RESEARCH PATH: Labor & Employment > Privacy, Technology and Social Media > Monitoring and Testing Employees > Practice Notes
1. See Nanette Byrnes, As Goldman Embraces Automation, Even the Masters of the Universe Are Threatened, MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW (Feb. 7, 2017).