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AI and HR Unions: Balancing Innovation and Employee Rights

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly integrated into human resources, enabling in-depth and relevant data processing. However, this technology raises concerns about the protection of employees’ personal data. 

Today, unions are committed to framing innovation in Artificial Intelligence and protecting workers’ rights, emphasizing the importance of rigorous regulations to ensure the confidentiality of their personal data. This approach aims to promote fairness and security for employees in the face of these technological advances. 

In this article, we will address key elements regarding the union’s role in data management, their demands concerning AI, and how AI digital tools can address these various demands. 

The Role of Unions in HR Data Management 

A union represents an organized grouping of workers united to protect and promote the collective interests of employees. 

Its role in HR data management primarily involves protecting workers’ rights in the use of their data. This organization also extends to representing employees in negotiations and decisions involving their employment and working conditions. Managing employee data and the HR use of Artificial Intelligence thus emerge as significant challenges for these organizations. 

Here is an overview of essential elements of the union’s role in data management: 

Protection of Personal Data 

This practice aims to ensure that all data is collected, stored, and used ethically and in strict compliance with regulations such as GDPR. Unions strive to preserve workers’ rights by ensuring the security and integrity of their personal data in the professional environment. 

Transparency and Fairness 

The union’s objective in promoting transparency and fairness in the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence systems is essential to establish fair processes, especially during recruitment, promotion, or other stages. This approach makes algorithmic decisions understandable and explainable while ensuring they do not perpetuate discriminatory biases. By promoting transparency, companies commit to creating fair practices that eliminate potential inequalities and offer equal opportunities to all, ensuring an inclusive and just working environment. 

Control and Access 

Before implementing any data management system, it is imperative to inform employees about the legal entities controlling and having the right to access their data. This builds trust and informed consent from employees regarding how their information will be managed and shared. By providing visibility into the authorities overseeing this data and the entities authorized to access it, workers are better informed and can make informed decisions regarding the protection of their personal data. 

Risk Assessment and Job Protection 

Risk assessment related to artificial intelligence is essential to protect workers’ jobs from discriminatory use of these technologies. By understanding the potential impacts of this technology on existing jobs, companies can implement strategies to preserve positions, have a clear view of working conditions, etc. This proactive approach aims to strike a balance between the efficiency offered by technological advances and the protection of workers against technology that could threaten their professional security. 

Ethical Use of Data 

Involvement of these organizations in the ethical use of data involves participating in the development of policies, ethical guidelines to guide data use and artificial intelligence. This includes ensuring that these technologies are implemented responsibly, respectfully, and fairly. By contributing to the definition of strong ethical standards, the parties involved commit to promoting transparent, non-discriminatory, and privacy-respecting use of individuals’ data. 

Union Demands Regarding AI 

Today, HR faces numerous union demands regarding the impact of AI. These demands raise various concerns related to the risks that can be generated by an algorithm, particularly concerning HR decision-making. Unions call for legislative reform regulating the use of AI in the professional environment, aiming to ensure its fair and non-discriminatory use. 

For companies employing this technology, it is imperative that they communicate openly with the SEC (Social and Economic Committee) regarding the use of AI to ensure a relationship of trust and increased transparency. This collaboration promotes a better understanding of the implications, benefits, and challenges associated with this technology. By informing this committee, companies can not only gain employees’ trust but also foster constructive dialogue to shape policies and practices that judiciously integrate AI while preserving their rights and interests. 

In this context, the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (FDCL) emphasized the importance of complementarity between artificial intelligence and humans, highlighting the need to develop trustworthy AI valuing this “man-machine” synergy. 

In a report published in March 2022 by FO-Cadres and the IRES, the FDCL calls for a public consultation focused on the following priorities: 

  • An inclusive AI aimed at reducing inequalities and discriminations. 
  • Social dialogue at all levels on AI. 
  • Transparency on algorithms, their functioning, and their impacts on working conditions, especially regarding worker control, recruitment, career development, and discriminatory biases. 
  • Protection and governance of personal data involving employee representatives. 
  • AI systems that respect workers’ fundamental rights and promote social progress within the company. 
  • Active involvement of executives and managers in these transitions. 
  • Ethics training for engineers and experts. 
  • Promotion of gender diversity in digital sectors to increase the representation of women in scientific and technological fields. 
  • Overhaul of continuous lifelong education. 
  • Active monitoring and surveillance of work transformations. 

The debate on artificial intelligence is also present internationally, as evidenced by the TUC (Trades Union Congress) report, highlighting crucial points related, notably, to the “high risk” that AI represents and its impact on decision-making. In this regard, David Lorimer, director of the law firm Fieldfisher, illustrates this concern by emphasizing that “decisions tainted with discrimination, sometimes resulting from algorithms trained on biased datasets, can be contested.” 

These observations underscore the crucial importance of thoughtful consideration of the implications of AI, both nationally and globally. 

How TOP Responds to All These Union Demands? 

TOP’s response to various union issues is multidimensional. As a decision support tool, TOP advises managers with corrective actions aimed at reducing turnover rates. This solution provides a functionality where the ultimate responsibility for the decision always remains in the hands of the manager. 

Moreover, TOP encourages the manager’s involvement in optimizing the algorithm by using feedback from user managers. 

Particular attention is given to algorithm debiasing, for example, addressing gender issues within a company and taking measures to minimize biases present in the system. 

Confidentiality and data protection occupy a central place at TOP. This solution complies with privacy standards and data protection regulations (GDPR), ensuring ethical processing of personal information. 

As an AI-based solution, TOP is committed to transparency regarding the use of its algorithms. This AI tool provides clear explanations of its predictive and analytical mechanisms, contributing to establishing a climate of trust. 

Testimonial from Hakim Ben Ayed, CCO at Aymax: “The confidentiality of our employees’ data has always been at the forefront of our concerns, as unions require. The evolution of AI tools applied to this field raises crucial questions about data collection and processing. With the support of TOP, we have observed a reassuring approach to data management. Their teams raise awareness and involve employees in the process of processing their personal data within the company. Today, what reinforces our confidence in its internal use and addresses our concerns about data security is that this solution offers recommendations compliant with the GDPR established by the CNIL. This strict compliance with privacy standards makes it an essential ally in our approach to protecting the internal data of all our employees.” 

In summary, union issues represent a crucial importance in HR data management, aiming to protect workers’ rights regarding the processing of their personal data. AI tools in human resources management, like TOP, provide a comprehensive response to these challenges, thereby addressing union concerns. 

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