French employment Law: AI week

AI in the Workplace: the employer should be proactive

The use of AI is becoming increasingly common within companies, due to the productivity gains and automation possibilities it allows. The use of AI tools generates significant legal challenges and complex practical issues that employers must know how to apprehend, manage, and, ideally, anticipate.

When an employee uses AI tools, such as ChatGPT, the issue of intellectual property automatically arises. The law is still uncertain in this area, and the risks are significant:

  • If employees use AI tools for generating documents or data related to the company’s business, there is a risk that this data could be considered public or third-party owned, diminishing exclusive rights to it;
  • Without clear guidelines, the use of AI in generating content can lead to legal battles over ownership, especially in creative or data-intensive industries;
  • In some regulated sectors like law and healthcare, using AI to generate advice or information could violate professional standards or regulations.

Given these still unclear challenges, it is important that the employer take certain measures which will inevitably need to be modified based on new practices and technological advancements.

In our view, several preliminary measures could be taken:

  • Establish clear policies to remind employees of the rules regarding confidentiality, specify if the use of AI tools is allowed and to what extent, and implement clear guidelines to prevent data leaks;
  • Provide training for employees – especially those most exposed – on the risks associated with uncontrolled use of AI tools.

Of course, these rules and training will need to evolve with the advancements in technologies, requiring employers to be proactive in this matter. It will also be necessary to consult with experts in labor and intellectual property law to ensure that policies are compliant with current regulations and are capable of the protecting companies’ interests.