Podcast: The Rise of Robotics and What It Means for Employers

Hosted by: David Weisenfeld

Robots and artificial intelligence technologies may soon change the workplace at a pace not seen since the Industrial Revolution. One of the nation's leading employment attorneys, Garry Mathiason, is at the forefront of the robotics movement. In this podcast, he discusses the many ways in which this budding development figures to affect employers and HR professionals.

Mathiason notes that nearly 50 percent of US jobs will likely be performed by computers and robotics within the next decade or two. "It's not a question of whether it will or it won't. It's going to happen," says Mathiason, who co-chairs the first-of-its-kind Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Automation Practice Group at Littler in San Francisco.

Podcast: The Rise of Robotics and What It Means for Employers

July 22, 2014

He claims the benefits of this technology are numerous, including how it should help integrate more individuals with disabilities into the workforce. At the same time, Mathiason cautions that robotics will impact no less than 13 or 14 different areas of employment law. Here are just a few of the examples he cited during our wide-ranging conversation that employers may need to address:

  • Avoiding assumptions that younger workers will be more agile with the technology;
  • Being sensitive to union issues as jobs may be lost in certain sectors; and
  • Ensuring software programs relating to robotics do not inadvertently create a disparate impact on protected groups.

"There are multiple areas of potential discrimination risk that often go undetected and need to be looked at as the technology gets developed," says Mathiason, who offers practical recommendations so employers are not caught by surprise.