Gig economy services such as Uber and Lyft are so entrenched in daily life across America today that it can be hard to believe it wasn't so long ago they were constantly embroiled in controversy. Many concerns about the safety of such services have been raised over the years. In particular, scrutiny has zeroed in on the focus that such companies place on the criminal background check during hiring.
As cities and states moved to regulate such services to make them safer for users, many gig economy companies have adopted stricter and more well-defined background check policies. Ridesharing companies, for example, must routinely conduct a pre-employment driving record check alongside criminal history checks. Uber and Lyft have aimed to be more transparent about what kinds of resources they use and who they may exclude from their service.
Not every business operates that way. A recent lawsuit alleges that food delivery company DoorDash has exhibited a pattern of negligence in its practices. Let's take a closer look at the issue.
Gig Companies Aren't Always Clear About Their Policies
While many companies state that they use background checks, it's not always clear precisely what those checks entail. No gig company publishes a comprehensive list of what their background-checking partners look at during screening. Is a company looking at a user's DMV driving records and hiring those without serious issues, or are they digging deeper to look for other possible warning signs?
Unfortunately, the public doesn't know whether a company has truly completed a sex offender background check or gone beyond consulting a driving record. A woman who says she was the victim of a violent attack by a DoorDash driver says it's evidence that the company does not do enough to protect customers.
What Happened in the DoorDash Case?
According to the legal complaint, a man delivering food for DoorDash returned to a customer's apartment days after a delivery, forced his way indoors, and began to assault the customer. The woman was badly hurt in the process, and the man, who was out on parole at the time of the attack, was sent back to prison to await trial on the new charges.
The DoorDash driver had a serious criminal history. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to charges stemming from running over a woman and spent three years in prison. Yet despite claims that DoorDash's partner consults its own national criminal database when vetting drivers, these charges were not a barrier to hiring the man. The lawsuit seeks to hold DoorDash accountable for the harm done, but the company says it isn't liable since drivers are independent contractors. The litigation remains pending.
The Importance of Vetting Your Vetting Companies
DoorDash, like many companies inside and outside of the gig economy, uses a third-party company to handle its background checks. Is the partner your business uses as reliable as possible? The DoorDash lawsuit has a clear lesson for other businesses to learn about background checks: your results are only as good as your partner is thorough.
When building your hiring process, selecting a provider that understands the serious nature of vetting candidates and the consequences of coming up short is key. At backgroundchecks.com, our decades of experience, advanced reporting products, and keen attention to detail ensure our partners receive the most robust criminal background check results possible. Consider your approach today—and see if it's time to improve your confidence level.
About Michael Klazema The author
Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments