Whilst the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can cause some concerns for employers, it can also offer significant benefits. So that you don’t lose the competitive advantage that your rivals may be enjoying through the use of AI, it is worthwhile considering how AI can be appropriately utilised by your business whilst minimising risk. A written AI policy can help to clearly inform and guide your staff as to whether and how AI can be employed within your business.
Where to start?
It is critical to thoroughly research AI tools and look at which, if any, may be helpful to the operation of your business. Once you have weighed up the advantages against any costs or risks related to using AI, you will be informed and able to decide whether you permit employees to use AI for work purposes.
If you choose not to permit AI at work, that should be specified clearly, preferably in writing to your staff, so that they are aware that using AI is not permitted and any implications of breaching this policy. If you choose only to allow use of certain applications and not others, it should be made clear in writing what applications are permitted and for what purpose.
It is prudent to nominate an individual within your business to direct questions on AI towards and advise staff of how that individual can be contacted if they have any queries about AI at work.
Our expert employment lawyers have experience of drafting bespoke AI policies for a variety of clients and can assist with your specific requirements.
Why is an AI policy important?
AI is fast growing and becoming more of a feature in our daily lives and is likely to continue to become so. Being aware of how AI operates in your business’ space and how to best manage it to your business’ advantage is of value. An AI policy, like any employment policy, can be hugely beneficial in setting out clear guidelines to staff so that your business is consistent and maintains the standards and values you wish to uphold minimising any risks or ethical concerns. A comprehensive and well drafted policy will detail ways in which AI can be used and the consequences if the policy is breached, which is critical if your business suffers damage as a result of misuse of AI under your business’ policy.
What should I include in an AI policy?
This will be dependent on your particular business and the industry you work in, and it is likely your AI policy will develop and change as the technology and your business does. As a good starting point, to best protect your business, it would be helpful to include:
- An explanation of what AI is and the different types, for example voice recognition or generative AI such as Chat GPT.
- A specific list of what AI applications are permitted to be used and how they may be used. For clarity you may also want to state a non-exhaustive list of how AI should not be used at work.
- Clear guidelines about the use of AI, any training or technical support that may be offered and an individual to contact with any queries relating to AI in the workplace.
- How costs related to AI usage or training will be paid for, should also be made clear in an AI policy.
- A list of risks and limitations when using AI at work to make employees mindful of these and minimise any risks when using this technology.
- Make clear that the employee which produces work using AI is ultimately responsible for its content and so must fact-check, tone check and understand all that has been produced using AI.
- You will need to expressly set out your right to monitor employees’ use of AI at work and any form that might take. Find more information in our guide to monitoring employees in the workplace.
- It is prudent to request that employee’s keep an accurate record of prompts used to create material through AI and dates and times work is produced.
- Express that your business 'IP and the confidentiality and privacy of your business’ data, including workforce data, must be maintained. Individuals’ personal or sensitive data should not be input and nor should client data. Only general and anonymised information should be input into AI applications.
- The consequences of any breach of the AI policy should be explained and if there are disciplinary implications, the disciplinary policy should be referred to, including where it can be found.
Considering the rapidly growing area of AI development and adoption, introducing an AI policy can help set clear ground rules for employees on how you will or will not allow for AI to be used in the workplace. To best protect your business from any risks, including IP or confidential information leaks, or professionally embarrassing errors, it is prudent to draft a thorough and clear policy whilst still benefiting from the efficiencies and other benefits of AI usage.