NAPBS Submits Comments to California Public Utilities Commission Concerning Transportation Network Companies

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) has submitted comments requested by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regarding the background checks of prospective Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers under the ‘California Public Service Commission Rulemaking 12-12-011’ (Order Instituting Rulemaking on Regulations Relating to Passenger Carriers, Ridesharing, and New Online-Enabled Transportation Services).’ To view the complete comments from the NAPBS, click here.

The comments from NAPBS Executive Director Melissa L. Sorenson noted the differences between named-based background screens and fingerprint-based screening that “may not always provide a full picture of an individual’s criminal history and in fact were not intended to be used as a background screening tool for employment-related purposes. A fingerprint search is not investigative; it only reflects information that is in fact submitted to the state database or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from individual states, counties, and courts within.”

Unfortunately, there is no single database, government or private, containing complete and comprehensive records regarding a person’s criminal history. Indeed, even former Attorney General Eric Holder recently wrote to state and local lawmakers in New Jersey and Chicago concerning the incompleteness of the FBI criminal history database, stating that the purpose of the FBI database is to aid law enforcement during investigations and that “it was not designed to be used to determine whether or not someone is eligible for a work opportunity.”

By contrast, NAPBS member companies use an applicant’s personal identifiers such as; name, address, date of birth, social security number to create a complete applicant profile which is then used to identify applicable jurisdictions to search. Once search criteria has been identified, professional background screeners routinely engage their nationwide network of court researchers to directly check the primary source of criminal records in each identified jurisdiction – court houses – and use those search results to compile complete criminal history reports.

The NAPBS comments also referenced a March 2015 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) “Criminal History Records: Additional Actions Could Enhance the Completeness of Records Used For Employment-Related Background Checks (GAO-15-162)” that found “significant gaps” in the completeness of criminal history records used for FBI checks despite more records containing both the arrest and final disposition. However, only twenty states reported that more than 75 percent of their arrest records had dispositions in 2012.

The NAPBS comments “recommend that any regulations concerning background screening requirements allow TNCs to use third-party screening services who have the ability to search multiple national, state, and local databases, rather than prescribing a scope of specific databases. This will enable TNCs to receive a more thorough and accurate picture of an applicant’s criminal history.” The NAPBS comments regarding screening for California TNCs are available at http://pubs.napbs.com/pub.cfm?id=D6DA0348-AFAA-F1C8-4325-20BC33B94D78.

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) is a nonprofit organization comprised of over 800 member companies – more than 100 of which are headquartered or maintain offices in California – dedicated to making communities and workplaces safer since 2003. NAPBS members utilize a variety of sources and information to compile complete reports that allow their clients to make informed decisions keeping homes, workplaces, and public safe. To learn more about the NAPBS, please visit www.napbs.com.

ESR Is Accredited by the NAPBS

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a global background check firm with offices located in California – is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for successfully demonstrating compliance with the NAPBS Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR Vice President of Strategic Growth Dawn Standerwick was elected Chair of the NAPBS Board of Directors for the 2016-17 term. To learn more about ESR, please visit www.esrcheck.com.

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