Labor Law And The Challenges Of Artificial Intelligence : 2nd Part Of A Trilogy

Author:Ms Emilie Ducorps-Prouvost
Profession:Soulier Avocats

Digital technology has already changed working methods. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence ("AI"), we are just at the beginning of a unparallel transformation that will affect not only the labor and employment market but also working relationships. What does exactly mean AI's impact on working relationships? When we say working relationships, it implies labor law.

Labor and employment law should be used as a legal tool to steer the obvious changes brought by AI in the workplace. The challenge is thus to identify avenues for adapting our labor and employment legislation in order to anticipate and smooth the transition to the new world.

This article is the second part of a trilogy built around the lifetime of employment contracts: hiring / performance / termination. It is devoted to three issues connected with the performance of the employment contract: What tools can be used to ensure the continuing adaptation of employees to their jobs that are evolving with the development of AI, what is the impact of AI on the ways of organizing work within businesses, what is the impact of AI on employees' working conditions?

In the first part of this trilogy, I addressed issues related to the termination of the employment contract and I specifically wondered whether our labor and employment legislation, as it currently stands, provides some safeguards against the unavoidable (according to some people) risk of job elimination as a result of the development of AI?

While technological changes constitute today a ground for dismissal per se, it seems reasonable to assume that, when it comes to assessing whether the dismissal on economic ground due to technical changes - e.g. the introduction of an AI-related tool - is justified, judges of tomorrow will carefully look at the efforts deployed by companies to adapt their employees.

Consequently, it is necessary to anticipate changes in jobs and skills in each industry to avoid large-scale lay-off plans. Continuing training is a key challenge of the digital revolution.

This brings me to the second part of the trilogy on employment contracts lifetime: the performance stage.


In this second part, I will try to answer three key questions:

Which legal tools that already exist are available to companies and employees to ensure the necessary constant adaptation of employees' skills? What is the anticipated impact that AI will have on the ways of organizing work? What is the anticipated impact that AI will have on working conditions? 1. Continuing adaptation/training of employees: What legal tools?

Businesses must make the most of the digital revolution by defining an appropriate human resource management policy.

We can indeed expect that the actual impact that the development of robotics and AI will have on employment will also depend on the ability of employees to master news tasks and to gain new skills in order to bring an "added value" while competing with increasingly efficient machines.

As such, do we have today the legal tools that are necessary to start the adjustment of businesses to AI and ensure the adaptation of employees to their employment position?

The answer is yes and the most efficient legal tool is indisputably the Gestion prévisionnelle de l'Emploi et des Compétences (forward-looking job and skill management policy, or hereinafter "GPEC").

The GPEC is an essential component of human resources management policies within companies. It is about devising, implementing and monitoring coherent policies and action plans:

To reduce at an early stage the gaps between a company's needs and its human resources (in terms of staffing and skills) by anticipating the foreseeable evolutions of jobs, skills and qualifications in light of foreseeable economic, demographic and technological changes, To involve employees in a career development project. A. Existing mandatory forward-looking job management schemes

Several provisions impose on employers the obligation to take measures that fall within the scope of forward-looking job management...

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