Blog

 
     

Uber Defends Hiring Practices in the Wake of Fatal Self-Driving Car Accident

By Michael Klazema on 4/4/2018

Self-driving cars are a focus of heavy investment, research, and development for many companies, and ridesharing giant Uber is no exception. An accident involving one of their cars caused the death of a woman in Tempe, Arizona. The headlines, and the surrounding circumstances, have drawn global attention.

According to The Arizona Republic, the accident occurred late in the evening as Elaine Herzberg entered a crosswalk and was subsequently struck by an Uber vehicle under the command of its onboard computer. The driver stationed in the vehicle to override the machine to prevent such accidents did not take control, nor did the vehicle apply emergency braking. 

The reason for the vehicle's failure to detect Herzberg is not yet known. Uber immediately suspended its self-driving program and pledged to undertake a full investigation, but most public scrutiny has fallen on the driver of the vehicle, Rafaela Vasquez.

Though her criminal record was found under a different name, her felony conviction for attempted armed robbery in 2000 was no secret to Uber. The company points out that it requires all its contractors, for both ridesharing and self-driving research, to pass a background check provided by a third party. These checks include records on the federal, local, and state levels, like the nationwide US OneSEARCH service and state record checks provided by backgroundchecks.com. 

While Uber was aware of Vasquez's conviction, the company claims it believes in providing felons with the opportunity to seek employment if their records do not include certain convictions such as violent crimes or child endangerment. Discrepancies between Uber's hiring policies and state laws governing rideshares, including regulations in neighboring Colorado, have led to multi-million-dollar fines for the business. Arizona has no such laws on the books.

The furor surrounding Vasquez and the accident led the Arizona Republic to publish an editorial discussing the disproportionate focus paid to her conviction versus the potential technological failures. The main question proposed by the editorial: what real relevance did her conviction have to the job at hand? This ties into one of the primary recommendations that often accompanies ban the box laws and other fair employment guidelines: consider whether an individual's conviction truly relates to the job at hand.

The circumstances of Vasquez's conviction, considering the nearly two decades that have elapsed since her incarceration, would not seem to be a barrier to operating a self-driving car. As reports note, it was not a criminal tendency that led to the accident. Individuals with criminal histories can consider sealing their records with backgroundchecks.com's MyClearStart service. As many states prohibit inquiries into sealed or expunged records, it can be an important step on the path to achieving reliable employment after a conviction.


Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • July 17 — Hourly Employee Screening: What Makes It Unique and Important infographic?Modern employers conduct background checks on most of the people they hire. These checks are most often used to screen full-time salaried workers. Part-timers and hourly employees are typically less likely to face a thorough background check or even go through a background screening at all. According to a survey conducted by HR.com, 67 percent of employers screen all of their part-time employees, compared to 83 percent of their full-time employees.
  • July 17 A Kentucky school district recently decided to stop paying for volunteer background checks. Going forward, volunteers will be expected to cover the cost of their own checks, which is $10 per person.
  • July 12 Seeking fresh employees for businesses, some states seek to reduce the number of people denied employment based on old or nonviolent crimes.
  • July 11 Multinational aerospace company - Safran Group - trusts backgroundchecks.com to screen new hires, The products they manufacture can have major implications for aircraft safety and worldwide security. As such, the company needs to be extremely careful and deliberate about who it trusts to join the organization.
  • July 11 Recently cited for driving too fast? Here’s what a speeding ticket will do to your background check report.
  • July 10

    Could your business be vulnerable to employee theft? Protect yourself with more thorough background checks.


  • July 09 While Social Security Numbers aren’t required for criminal history checks, they can be beneficial. Here’s why.
  • July 05

    In June, Chicago Public Schools came under fire after a Chicago Tribune piece accused the district of not protecting students from sexual abusers. The district has announced plans to run background checks on all employees.


  • July 04 — How important are volunteer background checks? Do they even matter?
    Organizations that rely in part on volunteer labor consistently find themselves asking these questions. The assumption is usually that volunteer background checks are less important than background checks for full-time or part-time employees. According to a CareerBuilder survey from 2016, 72 percent of employers conduct background checks on all employees. A parallel statistic isn’t even available for volunteer checks. They are less common – and less valued.
  • July 03 #MeToo harassment allegations continue to reshape workplaces in every industry. As a result, many companies are looking to safeguard themselves from liability.