Recruitment, selection, promotion, termination: these key workplace decisions are all considered automatically “high risk” under the EU AI Act. What does this mean in practice? Lewis Silkin looks at some of the burning questions employers are likely to have on the impact of this legislation.


Copyright: – “EU AI Act: What Does It Mean For Employers?”

SwissCognitive_Logo_RGBWhat is the EU AI Act?

Described by the EU as “the world’s first comprehensive legal framework on AI worldwide”, the EU AI Act has now been formally adopted by the European Parliament.

Expected to be adopted by the Council this month, it then enters into force 20 days after publication in the EU Official Journal, with the implementation staggered over the next two years.

The intention is that the AI Act ensures that AI systems are used safely and ethically, prohibiting certain practices that pose an unacceptable level of risk, and setting out clear requirements for other AI systems that have potentially harmful outcomes.

We have published a detailed guide to the AI Act here, answering questions such as what is an AI system, when will the Act be implemented, and looking in depth at some of the defined “roles” under the Act. This article focuses on the implications of the AI Act on the use of AI in employment.

Below we explore what the AI Act means for employers.

UK is no longer in the EU – why does it matter there too?

The intention of the AI Act is to protect people in the EU who are affected by AI systems. This means that the Act not only applies to employers located in the EU that use AI systems, but also applies to those located in non-EU member states where the output of that system is used in the EU.

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In the employment context, in scope examples might be recruitment exercises managed from the UK, using AI tools for sifting, which are open to applicants from the EU. Or cross jurisdictional teams managed from the UK by AI supported performance evaluation software.

However, the impact of the AI Act will go beyond its technical legal reach. Many employers operating internationally will want to ensure that any AI system they use complies with the AI Act, rather than considering each use case individually and having some processes compliant and others not. The general expectation is that this is likely to become the international default, like the GDPR.[…]

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