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New York (AI Audit) City: NYC's AI Bias Law

September 28, 2022

"The Concrete Jungle," "The City That Never Sleeps," and "The Big Apple" are all epithets of a bustling metropolitan called New York City (Goicochea, 2018). We may need to add another moniker, like "AI Audit City," because New York passed a law in January 2023 that changes how employers use automation tools in the hiring process.

Moreno (2022) remarks that the law requires NYC employers to have an independent body to audit the automation tools they implement in hiring applicants. New York City is the first city in the United States of America to "enhance" the legal hiring process with the aforesaid auditing. Enhance has double quotations, and they [double quotations] mean there is an ironic connotation to the word.

The irony is that according to Danielle J. Moss, the law has not defined 'independent auditor.' Companies may have to rely on their respective law firms to define what an independent auditor does (Moreno, 2022).

Additionally, Moreno (2022) notes that the AI automation tools are from third-party vendors, which poses a problem; employers do not know what information is collected and how it is being used. Employers will need to ensure that the automation tools are audited proficiently.

Thus, employers must ensure effective and ethical auditing of their AI tools. Moreno (2022) states that they must also prevent bias from affecting a promotion and employment decision(s). Furthermore, employers are tasked with making the AI tools and audit results available to the public, according to the Local Law Int. No. 1894-A was passed in November 2021 (Moreno, 2022). However, New York City has not created guidelines to comply with the law, so employers would have to reference the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that describes the use of AI tools and guidelines (Moreno, 2022).

Moreover, AI audit laws are theoretically sound, but how can they be enforced? The Office of the Corporation Counsel will enforce those laws upon companies and employers, yet it is unclear how they'd enforce them (Moreno, 2022). Those employers who do not comply with the law will be fined $500 for the initial violation and $1,500 for the subsequent ones (Moreno, 2022).

Personal Thoughts

I believe the New York City A.I. Bias law is a step in the right direction, but I am concerned about its enforcement and pragmatism.

  • How will violations be assessed?
  • How many violations are permitted until drastic consequences ensue?
  • Can violations be contested? If they are, what is the process?
  • What is the process of litigating an AI tool?
  • When there's a complaint about an AI tool, how long will it take for an employee's complaint to be heard by the local, state, or Federal courts?
  • Are there non-retaliation laws in place for whistleblowing as a discriminatory tool?
  • Who audits the auditors?
  • What criteria must the independent auditors pass to become qualified auditors?
  • What are the unforeseen implications of implementing the law?
  • Will hiring become slower?
  • If hiring becomes slower, who will have priority in the hiring process?
  • How are small businesses affected?
  • Would there be an AI compliance fee to be paid, monthly or yearly?

These are the many questions on which I ruminate, and I seek to find answers. Though, I am glad the US, especially New York City, is moving in the right direction in terms of AI ethics and auditing.


Goicochea, J. (2018, March 19). The stories behind New York City's nicknames. Culture Trip. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/new-york/new-york-city/articles/the-stories-behind-new-york-citys-nicknames/

Moreno, J. E. (2022, August 29). New York City AI bias law charts new territory for employers. Bloomberg Law. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/new-york-city-ai-bias-law-charts-new-territory-for-employers

Devin Almonor

Devin is a one-of-a-kind person. He is passionate about his dreams to save the world, one algorithm at a time. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Machine Learning and A.I. at CSU-Global, with the aspirations of becoming a machine learning engineer. Ethical A.I. is his passion, and he does whatever it takes to ensure the algorithms and technology are representative of their constituents.

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