Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
On October 4, 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a proposal to strengthen the criminal background checks for transportation network company (TNC) drivers that would require background check companies that ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft use to screen their drivers to be accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).
With the enactment of Assembly Bill (AB) 1289 in September 2016 – codified in Pub. Util. Code § 5445.2 – TNCs are required to adhere to a three-part background protocol. Yet the CPUC also maintained the authority to adopt additional standards that did not conflict with the Legislature’s directive. Currently, any TNC wishing to conduct transportation service in California must meet the following requirements:
- A TNC or a third party working on the TNC’s behalf must perform a search of a multistate and multi-jurisdiction criminal records locator or other similar commercial nationwide database with validation; and conduct a search of the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Web site.
- A TNC may not contract with, employ, or retain persons currently registered on the Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Web site; or convicted of either a violent felony or a violation of Penal Code §§ 11413, 11418, 11418.5, or 11419.
- A TNC may not contract with, employ, or retain persons convicted of any of the following offenses within the previous seven years: misdemeanor assault or battery; domestic violence offense; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; a felony violation of Elections Code § 18540, or Penal Code §§ 67, 68, 85, 86, 92, 93, 137, 138, 165, 518, 530, 18500, 484, 487(a), or 25540(b).
In addition to the requirements set forth in Pub. Util. Code § 5445.2, the CPUC – through its proposal for criminal background checks for TNC drivers that will not be decided until at least on November 9, 2017 – exercises its regulatory authority to require every licensed TNC to comply with these additional requirements from http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M196/K478/196478351.PDF:
- First, commercial background check companies that a TNC employs must be accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screener’s Background Screening Credentialing Council. If a TNC conducts background checks in-house, the TNC must itself be accredited by the same entity.
- Second, each TNC must receive proof of accreditation of the background check company and provide proof of accreditation with any reporting that the Commission may require.
- Third, the background screening for each TNC driver must be conducted prior to the granting of authorization to operate on the TNC’s platform and repeated at least once per year thereafter, for as long as the TNC driver is authorized to operate on the TNC’s platform. The TNC must provide proof of annual screening of its drivers with any reporting that the Commission may require.
The CPUC proposal will “limit the information a TNC can require from a background check to those disqualifying categories of offenses and convictions set forth in Pub. Util. Code § 5445.2” and also “declines to require a TNC that does not primarily transport minors to conduct a biometric (i.e., the use of a person’s physical characteristics and other traits) background check of a TNC driver.”
The NAPBS accreditation program for U.S. consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) – the technical term for background check firms – is called the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) and covers six critical areas of screening: Consumer Protection, Legal Compliance, Client Education, Researcher and Data Product Standards, Verification Service Standards, and General Business Practices.
To become accredited by the NAPBS, CRAs must demonstrate initial and ongoing compliance with the accreditation standard as prepared by the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). Accreditation lasts for a period of five years, after which time firms are required to complete the process if they wish to remain accredited. To learn more about the NAPBS, visit www.napbs.com.
ESR is Accredited by NAPBS for Background Screening
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider headquartered in the San Francisco Bay area – is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) for successfully demonstrating compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.
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