Kyle Behm Kroger algorithmic personality assessment

Occurred: 2012

In 2012, bipolar disorder sufferer and Vanderbilt University student Kyle Behm was rejected for low-skilled jobs at multiple companies by an algorithmic online personality test system that concluded that he was likely to ignore customers if they were upset or making him upset. 

The rejections led to his family taking workforce management company Kronos to court, and to a widespread debate about the fairness of workplace personality tests. 

After taking some time off university for medical leave, Behm discovered through a friend that he had been 'red-lighted' by a personality test system supplied by workforce management company Kronos (now UKG) when he had applied for jobs at several companies, including supermarket chain Kroger, Home Depot, Walgreens.

Behm's father, an attorney, filed a lawsuit against Kroger and five other companies for allegedly illegally screening for mental illness. Kyle Behm ended his life before the case went to court. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits 'employment tests that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or a class of individuals with disabilities' unless necessary for the job. 

Operator: Home Depot; Kroger; PetSmart; Walgreens
Developer: UKG/Kronos

Country: USA

Sector: Retail

Purpose: Assess personality

Issue: Bias/discrimination - disability

Transparency: Governance; Appeals/complaints

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: August 2023