Artificial Intelligence in the workplace – what employers need to know


Employers are faced with making hundreds of decisions a day – some more complex than others.  In recent times, some employers have turned to Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to help them with these decisions, particularly where they involve the consideration of large amounts of information.  Other employers have used AI to monitor whether employees are meeting their obligations. Others have not yet realised that their team may be using AI without their knowledge.

AI tools have the potential to change the workplace in a positive way.  However, there are a number of legal obligations employers should consider before deciding to use AI tools and managing employees use of those tools.


What is AI technology?

AI can be defined as “algorithm-based technology that solves complex tasks by carrying out a function that previously required human thinking”[1].  It is designed to mimic the human thought and reasoning process.

At present, the use of AI technology in the workplace is not regulated in New Zealand.  Overseas, the European Union is considering an Artificial Intelligence Act and the United Kingdom and the United States are considering the regulation of AI through policies and frameworks.

What should employers be aware of about AI and when using AI?

Some factors that all employers should consider regarding AI, include:

Looking forward

While there is currently no prescribed way to use AI technology at work, we urge employers to use it consistently with their employment law obligations (in legislation and in existing employment agreements and workplace policies), and not as a way to avoid these.

It has recently been found that only 12% of Kiwi organisations have policies in place for AI.[2]  We consider this percentage needs to increase rapidly to keep up with the pace at which AI will alter the workplace.  Creating and implementing an AI policy promotes transparency around the use of AI at work.  It also sets expected standards of conduct and accountability for both employers and employees when using AI in the current environment.

Get in touch with the team at Black Door Law for tailored advice around AI policies and the use of AI in the workplace.


Disclaimer:  This information is intended as general legal information and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a specific issue and wish to discuss it, get in contact with the Black Door Law team.



[2] According to a study undertaken by Perceptive, as reported in HCA Magazine