By now, most employers have heard about ChatGPT – the artificial intelligence program sweeping the internet. And, like many, you’re probably wondering what this technology means for your company. 

While artificial intelligence has many obvious benefits to making aspects of your job easier – after all, everything from emails to job descriptions can be generated through AI – issues can arise when employees begin using chatbots without company approval. 

In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to ChatGPT and discuss what employers should consider when determining whether and how their employees should use it. 

What is ChatGPT? 

ChatGPT is a chatbot created by Open.AI and powered by artificial intelligence. With this tool, anybody can type in a request on the ChatGPT website (for instance, asking it to write an email addressing a particular subject, solve a math problem, or create a workplace policy) and receive a unique and eerily accurate answer from the website. 

How Employees Can Use ChatGPT

ChatGPT is available to the public and can be used in many ways. ChatGPT is primarily adept at creating written content and answering questions. In that sense, it’s no surprise that employees may gravitate to the chatbot to automate time-intensive aspects of their work. 

ChatGPT and Employers: The Risks in Artificial Intelligence Use

Despite the benefits of ChatGPT, there are many risks that employers need to be aware of – not only in using the chatbot themselves but in how their employees use it. 

ChatGPT and Confidentiality 

In any workplace, confidentiality is key. However, introducing ChatGPT in your workplace – whether through individual employee use or company-wide adoption – creates data privacy concerns. ChatGPT uses the personal and conversational data it receives to continue “learning”, meaning that data provided to the chatbot may not be secure.  

ChatGPT and Accuracy 

ChatGPT is still in development, and while its capabilities are impressive, there is no guarantee that its responses will be accurate. Sometimes, the risk of inaccuracy is minimal (for instance, writing a generic email). However, if employees rely on ChatGPT’s accuracy to provide information to customers or clients or conduct important research for the business, serious issues can easily arise. 

ChatGPT and Ethics 

Many ethical issues arise concerning chatbots – internally and in client interactions. 

Internally, employers may (understandably) have concerns about employees using a chatbot to complete daily work tasks. If an employer is paying an employee to use their skills and experience to complete their daily tasks, chatbot use may naturally break down trust between employers and employees (especially if the employer has not been informed about the employee’s ChatGPT use). 

Similarly, representing work completed by a chatbot as a company’s work product to clients is not only concerning for the reasons listed above but for the simple fact that a client is paying for your company’s expertise. If a client later discovers that you are masquerading a chatbot’s work as your services without telling them, this could inevitably lead to – at best, client dissatisfaction and, at worst, a complete breakdown of your relationship with the client. 

Developing a ChatGPT Policy for Employers  

If you have concerns about the rise of ChatGPT, it’s worth developing a company policy outlining whether and how ChatGPT can be used in your workplace. 

Some relevant considerations include the following: 

Define “AI” Broadly 

While we’ve referenced ChatGPT extensively in this blog post, remember that it’s not the only artificial intelligence tool publicly available. It’s worth defining “artificial intelligence” broadly in your workplace policy. 

Outline Whether – or How – Employees Can Use AI 

As a first step, it’s important to consider whether you want employees to use artificial intelligence tools at all. If the answer is “no,” make it very clear in your policy. 

If, on the other hand, you intend to allow employees to use ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools, be very clear in defining the appropriate use of the tools in your policy – as well as what constitutes prohibited use.

Address Confidentiality and Security Concerns

Communicate what information employees can and cannot provide when using artificial intelligence tools. For instance, you should prohibit employees from providing any internal company information when using artificial intelligence tools. 

Establish When Artificial Intelligence Is Used

To ensure everyone is on the same page, you should include a requirement that employees clearly identify any work product created in whole or in part by artificial intelligence as such. Including this information in an employer, ChatGPT policy will ensure that everything is clear regarding whether work has been created by artificial intelligence or by an employee. 

Require Thorough Review of Artificial Intelligence Work Products

Requiring employees to complete a thorough review of any artificial intelligence work product for accuracy will help ensure that employees understand they cannot blindly rely on artificial intelligence to conduct routine tasks and provide a level of review for accuracy to ensure that misinformation is not communicated internally or externally. 

Dictate the Consequences for the Misuse of Artificial Intelligence

Whether you choose to prohibit artificial intelligence use in the workplace or allow its use in specific instances, be clear about the consequences of use (or misuse). 

Stay on Top of Your Policy

Artificial intelligence is growing rapidly – that’s why, once you’ve created a policy for your workplace, it will be critical to review it regularly and consider whether changes need to be made. 

Final Thoughts on Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT for Employers

ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence programs are still in the early stages, so their role in the modern workplace remains unclear. However, as more and more people discover and use programs like ChatGPT, employers will need to remain vigilant and consider the impact of these tools on their businesses. 

Getting ahead of these developments by creating a policy regarding artificial intelligence is a great step toward outlining your expectations and defining how these tools should be used (if at all). If you have further questions regarding your rights as an employer regarding employee use of artificial intelligence, be sure to speak with an experienced employment lawyer for guidance. 

Contact an Ottawa Employment Lawyer at Tierney Stauffer LLP

Whether you’re an employee or an employer, the experienced lawyers at Tierney Stauffer LLP can provide advice for various employment concerns, including policies, contracts, terminations, and much more. To discuss your legal matter with a member of our employment team, contact Tierney Stauffer LLP in Ottawa, Eastern Ontario, and North Bay at 1-888-799-8057 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. 


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