Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn
Criminal background checks performed by transportation network companies (TNCs) Uber and Lyft “have approved thousands of people who should have been disqualified because of criminal records,” according to an examination of state agencies and lawsuits by CNN (Cable News Network).
The CNN investigation into background checks for Uber found that there were several occasions when the company “welcomed a driver who should have been barred under the company’s policy that excludes people with convictions of serious crimes or major driving offenses from shuttling passengers.”
Drivers who passed Uber background checks include a man convicted of attempted murder and accused of raping a passenger in Missouri, a murderer on parole in Texas, and an undocumented immigrant on trial for sexually assaulting three passengers in California, CNN reported. All no longer drive for Uber.
CNN reported that Uber and Lyft called their background checks “robust and fair” and Uber said over 200,000 people failed background checks in 2017 while acknowledging mistakes: “While no background check is perfect, this is a process we take seriously and are committed to constantly improving.”
However, CNN found Uber and Lyft “pushed back on government efforts to add other layers of scrutiny to the screening process” and “successfully fought off additional backgrounding requirements for drivers such as fingerprint scans or government screening” that some believe would help protect passengers.
In April 2018, ESR News reported that Uber Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dara Khosrowshahi announced in a blog entitled “Getting serious about safety” that the company would strengthen its due diligence background checks with annual driver re-screenings and new offense notifications, among other improvements.
In May 2018, ESR News reported that at least 103 drivers working for Uber in the United States “have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years” and “31 drivers have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape.”
That same month, ESR News also reported members of Congress sent a letter to the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Juno, Curb, and Via inquiring about the practices they employ for ensuring passenger safety after a CNN investigation found Uber and Lyft drivers had been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers.
The growing scrutiny over background checks for TNC drivers from companies such as Uber and is one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2018 selected by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), which is headquartered in the San Francisco, California area.
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