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Speaker Series: Richard Bales

Speaker Series: Richard Bales

February 5, 2020

As part of our Speaker Series, Rick Bales (Professor of Law, Pettit College of Law, Ohio Northern University) will be presenting "Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace," on Thursday, February 13th during our Common Hour (3:15 – 4:30 p.m.) in 502 Keller Building. 

Employers and others who hire or engage workers to perform services use a dizzying array of electronic mechanisms to make personnel decisions about hiring, worker evaluation, compensation, discipline, and retention. These electronic mechanisms include electronic trackers, surveillance cameras, metabolism monitors, wearable biological measuring devices, and implantable technology. With these tools, employers can record their workers’ every movement, listen in on their conversations, measure minute aspects of performance, and detect oppositional organizing activities. The data collected is transformed by means of artificial intelligence (A-I) algorithms into a permanent electronic resume that can identify and predict an individual’s performance as well as their work ethic, personality, union proclivity, employer loyalty, and future health care costs. The electronic resume produced by A-I will accompany workers from job to job as they move around the boundaryless workplace. Thus A-I and electronic monitoring produce an invisible electronic web that threatens to invade worker privacy, deter unionization, enable subtle forms of employer blackballing, exacerbate employment discrimination, render unions ineffective, and obliterate the protections of the labor laws.

Rick Bales is a faculty member at Ohio Northern University Law (visiting at Akron Law 2018-20). He teaches a wide variety of ADR and labor/employment courses, Torts, and Civil Procedure. He has published more than eighty scholarly articles and authored or co-authored eight books on a variety of topics related to labor/employment/ADR. His most recent book is Cambridge Handbook of US Labor Law: Reinventing Labor Law for the 21st Century (co-edited with Charlotte Garden). In addition to teaching and writing, Rick is a part-time labor arbitrator. He is a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators and serves on FMCS and AAA panels.

You can view his faculty profile here:

February 3, 2020 

Speaker Series: Richard Bales