After years of callouts and criticisms of its background check policies, Uber has announced a plan to expand the breadth of its driver screening process. According to a recent Associated Press report, the ridesharing company plans to institute several new ongoing criminal monitoring policies. These policies are designed to identify red flags that come up after a driver has been approved to accept fares through the Uber app.
Previously, Uber’s only background checks occurred when a driver was hired. The policy focused on pre-employment screening and a driver’s pre-Uber history. The company didn’t have a formal means of learning whether a person had been convicted of a crime after joining Uber.
Uber’s new background check policy will keep the pre-employment checks but will add two forms of ongoing criminal monitoring. First, the company will conduct annual criminal background checks on all United States Uber drivers. Second, the company will team up with an external entity to monitor its drivers and watch for new arrests or criminal charges. Collectively, Uber claimed these policies will make it easier to keep drivers in line and passengers safe.
Uber is no stranger to criticisms of its driver screening policies. The company has come under fire for the behaviors of its drivers, some of whom have been accused of sexually assaulting their passengers. In 2017, the state of Colorado hit Uber with an $8.9 million fine. The fine, levied by the state’s Public Utilities Commission, came after an investigation found 60 Uber drivers with questionable backgrounds. These drivers worked for Uber despite felony convictions, drunk driving convictions, and other offenses.
In the past, Uber has often balked at accusations that its background check policies weren’t thorough enough. When cities like Austin, Texas tried to pass ordinances requiring ridesharing companies to run fingerprint-based criminal checks on their drivers, Uber abandoned those markets.
Uber is in different hands than it used to be. In 2017, co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned his position as CEO after allegations surfaced that he had allowed sexual harassment to happen at the company under his watch. He was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi, who appears to be taking a different stance on background checks for drivers.
This news provides two important reminders for businesses. The first is that any background check is only a snapshot of a person’s record at that moment in time. Just because a person has a clean record when you hire them doesn’t necessarily mean they will have a clean background after five years on the job. Businesses can shield themselves from incident and liability by repeatedly conducting county, state, or multi-jurisdictional criminal checks after a few years.
The second reminder is that background check policies don’t have to be set in stone. As your business grows, you may find you need to expand the breadth of your background check policies. backgroundchecks.com provides a wide range of background check services to make it easy for your business to start checking things like motor vehicle records, civil history, and employment history.