At the beginning of July, Uber started testing ongoing criminal monitoring. Uber announced a few months ago it was planning to ramp up its background checks for drivers. According to a report from Axios, the company has now officially made the leap.
Uber has partnered with a company that provides “real-time collection” of criminal data. If a driver active in the Uber system is charged with a criminal offense, the company will be notified. Uber can then decide how to proceed—whether that means terminating the driver, suspending the driver until a decision is reached in their case, or investigating further. The service is a response to Uber’s checkered history with customer safety.
Uber says it has now rolled out the new ongoing criminal background checks to “a meaningful percentage” of drivers in the United States. The Axios report notes the new policy has already resulted in the removal of 25 Uber drivers from the service. Uber will likely expand the policy to its entire base of drivers in the coming months.
In the past, Uber ran a standard pre-employment background check. Uber screened new drivers before they could accept any fares through the Uber app. If Uber did not find any reasons to disqualify the driver, that person would be allowed to start making money through the service. Uber had no policies in place to re-screen drivers after a certain period, nor did it have a way to detect new arrests, charges, or convictions.
There are still blind spots in Uber’s new policy. The ongoing background check policy only applies to criminal records; it does not monitor an Uber driver’s motor vehicle record.
For most employers, criminal history is the only area in which ongoing monitoring makes sense. It is the only part of the background check likely to change in a way that affects day-to-day job responsibilities. For Uber, drivers for the service only drive. Uber drivers have no other work responsibilities. As such, a reckless driving citation or a suspended license has just as much bearing on an Uber’s driver’s ability to keep performing his or her job safely as a pending criminal charge. Uber has not instituted any way to execute ongoing motor vehicle record checks.
Does your business have a policy like Uber’s? Check out backgroundchecks.com’s ongoing criminal monitoring service to improve your vetting standards.