Alan McCormack | Senior Associate


Artificial intelligence programmers are developing bots that can identify digital bullying and sexual harassment.

Known as “#MeTooBots” after the high-profile movement that arose after allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, the bots can monitor and flag communications between colleagues and are being introduced by companies around the world.

The “bots” are able to monitor and flag digital communications between colleagues, looking out for language anomalies and frequency of communication. They are currently being trained to understand linguistic nuances.  The bot uses an algorithm trained to identify potential bullying, including sexual harassment, in company documents, emails and chat. Data is analysed for various indicators that determine how likely it is to be a problem, with anything the AI reads as being potentially problematic then sent to a lawyer or HR manager to investigate.

The concerns for companies using such software will be that if an employees’ correspondence gets flagged, it can create a climate of distrust, and offenders may learn how to trick the software. Alternatively, offenders could resort to other mediums of communication that are not monitored by the bots.

A further concern is protecting the confidentiality of the data that is collected. Similar technology is being used to retrospectively scour large volumes of digital communications to fight harassment claims.

Should you require any advice regarding harassment in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team today.

Alan McCormack

Alan McCormack

Employment Law Team

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