Background Checks for Ridesharing Companies and Others Continue Evolving

By Michael Klazema on 8/23/2018

The importance of background checks and questions about the role screenings should play in hiring have come into focus. Some of this attention can be attributed to ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, whose stumbles in public relations coupled with stories of driver misconduct and even violence have drawn the attention of legislators. Illinois has become the latest in a string of states to turn to the law as a remedy for standardizing procedures in the rideshare industry.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the new Illinois law stipulates prospective rideshare drivers must provide their full name, date of birth, and Social Security number when applying for work. This new data is in addition to existing information requirements, including their current address and other details related to their eligibility to drive. 

With this new information, not only are rideshare drivers held to the same standards as other transport professionals but rideshare companies can also conduct more thorough background checks. With a date of birth and Social Security number, a business owner can request a check through a far-reaching database of criminal records—such as the US OneSEARCH offered by

This legislative effort follows internal changes at ridesharing giants like Uber, which recently announced it would transition away from only vetting candidates upon their hiring. Instead, the company will begin implementing annual screenings to look for changes in criminal status alongside other potential red flags.

Laws such as those in Illinois, which make it easier for businesses to obtain the necessary information for completing a background screening, are part of a response to other legislative changes. With ban the box rules in place in many locales, including in Illinois, some employers no longer have the option of asking (or requiring) an applicant to disclose their criminal history on an application. 

Some employers assume independent contractors pose less of a liability risk. This misconception has been challenged throughout the rise of the gig economy by HR professionals. Beyond due diligence, as efforts to reduce hiring discrimination improve, the value of objective tools that allow employers to verify an individual's trustworthiness increases. 

Turning to background checks can provide for a fairer experience. Employers may more easily incorporate key recommendations from the EEOC, such as considering the time elapsed since an incident. The right procedures protect both clients and businesses while providing a fair chance to all qualified applicants. tracks all the changes in rules surrounding criminal history reports and other types of screenings, including job history verification, to provide employers with access to reliable, compliant information. As concerns about company culture and external liabilities increase, so does the need for a robust pre-employment vetting process. With access to the right reporting products, putting such procedures in place is easy. 

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