For Employees

Computer Based Hiring and Its Impact on Employees and Employment Law in BC

How technology in the hiring process may hold some benefit to employees at the time of hire, but could hurt them at the end of their employment.

Last month, NPR published an interesting story that caught my attention – the story was about the increased use of computerized hiring practices around the world.

While it is by no means the norm, increasingly, potential employees are encountering employers who are utilizing computerized hiring practices to aid in the selection of new hires.  I thought it would be interesting to explore how this emerging practice might impact employees specifically, and employment law generally.

With a computerized hiring process, employers use computer software to ask prospective employees questions that help gauge whether that individual is likely to be a successful additional to the business.  Employers, and thus the computers and software they use, know whether an employee is more likely to be successful based upon the characteristics of past employees that have been successful within their organization. By hiring employees with those same characteristics, it is expected that employers are better able to successfully place new candidates and, in turn, reduce turnover rates and the related training expenses.

Although the system doesn’t guarantee that every job will work out for the hired employee, it does increase the likelihood that an employee will be placed good fit with an organization that is a good fit.

This emerging trend is likely to benefit employees by providing them with them an increased likelihood of taking on stable employment.  However, computerized hiring is also likely to have a far reaching impact on employment law, especially as this technology develops and becomes more common place.

One can reasonably expect that the use of computerized practices will reduce bias in the hiring process. By focusing on particular traits and characteristics to select candidates, not only does software-based hiring process have the potential to chip away at the age-old notion of it’s not what you know, but who you know, it also has the potential to reduce incidents of discrimination based on age, sex, race, sexual orientation and the like related to hiring practices.

Also, as computerized hiring becomes more common and as the software and process is tweaked and fine-tuned, it’s likely that more employees will be placed in positions that suit them. While this will by no means eliminate wrongful dismissals from occurring, such hiring could potentially reduce the number of wrongful dismissal claims as employees are more likely to be suitable for and successful in their positions.

Finally, as software is used more frequently in the hiring process, it is more likely that such software will remind, or even require, employers to sign written employment contracts with their employees.

Unfortunately, although having a written employment contract in place will provide employees with some certainty in their employment, it is likely to affect employees negatively. Often written contracts between employees and employers subject employees to entitlements, particularly on termination, that are less than what they would receive without a written contract (also known as what employees would receive at common law – for more information see my earlier blog post on severance entitlements).

In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how this emerging technology and process affects employment law.

Should you have questions regarding a hiring process, severance, contracts or other employment law related matters, please contact us today.

This blog is produced by Waterstone Law Group LLP. This blog is intended for information purposes only and is not offered as legal advice for a specific claim. Subscription to or use of this site does not establish a solicitor – client relationship between the user and Waterstone Law Group LLP or any of the individual contributors. For advice relating to your employment law claim, please contact us to arrange for a consultation.

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