Some Uber Drivers Affected by Background Check Delays Due to COVID-19

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Some drivers for Uber – the most popular transportation network company (TNC) in the U.S. – “have been unable to work due to background check delays with the company” while “Uber says those delays have been caused by COVID-19’s impact on local courts,” according to a report by KESQ News Channel 3 in Palm Springs, California.

A driver who was working for Uber for more than a year “said the company’s mandatory background check process was quick and easy” when he started the job in January 2020 but when it was time for another annual background check in 2021 he “experienced a major delay in the process,” KESQ News Channel 3 reported.

The driver “contacted Uber support who said his background check was still ‘pending’ due to COVID-related court closures” and he received a similar reply each time he called them. “They said in 3 to 5 days our specialized team should reach out to you. Never heard anything back,” the driver stated in the KESQ News Channel 3 report.

The Uber website posted a notice for affected drivers to answer the question “Why is my background check taking longer than expected?” that stated: “Some reports and activations may be delayed or not be able to be completed by our background check provider until courthouses are able to resume normal business.”

In July 2018, Uber began using continuous background checks to improve rider safety following a May 2018 CNN investigation that found more than 100 Uber drivers were accused of crimes in the past four years and as many as 31 “have been convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape.”

Court closures and delays due to COVID-19 have affected many employers performing background checks. In April 2020, Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), was interviewed for an article on the subject by The Mercury News in San Jose, California.

“An employment expert who conducts background checks said online databases of criminal records aren’t always thorough enough. In addition, because some courthouses don’t have all their records online, many routine background checks require a trip to the courthouse,” The Mercury News reported.

“Go ahead and do as much as they can do, make the best decisions they can based on available information because the courts are closed… Some employers will still choose to wait for a completed check to finalize a hire, particularly in fields like healthcare where that may be mandatory depending on the job,” Rosen stated.

“Rosen added that shuttered courthouses aren’t the only potential roadblock for new hires. Even verifying past employment has become more challenging when companies are closed, or when the person with access to employee files is off-site or working on a more urgent problem,” The Mercury News reported.

Rosen was chairperson of the steering committee that founded the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) – a nonprofit trade organization representing the screening industry – and served as the first co-chair. In 2019, Rosen received the PBSA Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the industry.

The PBSA is actively tracking and gathering information related to COVID-19 as it relates to background screening that includes court closures and delays. The information is provided as general educational information only and is not intended as legal advice. To learn more, visit thepbsa.org/covid-19-resources/.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a deadly respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of March 11, 2021, there are more than 118 million global cases and 2.6 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with more than 29 million cases and 529,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the number one screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – uses best practices during the COVID-19 crisis, offers a white paper about background checks in the Coronavirus age. , and blogs about COVID-19. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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