Blog

 
     

Austin Widens the Scope of Taxi Driver Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 4/13/2016

As Uber faces legal problems for holes in its background checks, the city of Austin, Texas is taking steps to enhance vetting policies for its own transportation drivers. According to a report from the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin City Council has voted to make background checks for local taxi, shuttle, and limousine drivers "national in scope."

The new "national" or multi-jurisdictional background checks will use fingerprinting to look for criminal convictions beyond state lines. Right now, Austin city requirements only mandate state background checks for most taxi, shuttle, or limo drivers. The exception is for drivers who have lived in Texas for less than three years. In such cases, city licensing officials add a background check in a driver's previous state of residence.

Even for drivers who have lived in Texas for a short period of time, the fingerprint background checks will broaden the scope. Of course, multi-jurisdictional background checks are not foolproof and don't provide searches of every single criminal record in all 50 states. It isn't immediately clear whether or not the new requirements the Austin City Council approved will supplant the current background check policies or supplement them. The safest option would be to keep the current policies in place and simply add the multi-jurisdictional fingerprint checks as an extra step. However, such a decision would also be more expensive.

This new ordinance is something of a follow-up to a similar measure that the Austin City Council passed in December. That ordinance is supposed to require drivers of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft to undergo fingerprint background checks. However, the two companies have so far been staunch in their arguments that fingerprinting would scare away potential drivers and make it difficult to operate in Austin. Whether or not the ordinance gets repealed will be decided by public vote on May 7th.

In addition to requiring drivers to go through new background checks for chauffeur licenses, the Austin City Council is responsible for establishing rules on what sort of offenses would disqualify drivers from receiving such licenses. The proposal for the new ordinance did include stipulations about different offenses and how they would be handled in the licensing process. Specifically, the new rules would not automatically disqualify drivers for DUI offenses, drug possession, and other non-violent crimes so long as those convictions are seven years past or older. The City Council is tabling discussion on those factors until May or June—until after the public votes on the ridesharing fingerprinting ordinance.

Source: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/austin-expands-background-checks-for-taxi-drivers/nq2SP/


Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.


  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.


  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.