The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission conducted an investigation on Uber’s background screening policies. Their results were released in March, 2019.
Reason For The Study
In 2018, CNN investigated Uber’s background screening and vetting process. They found more than 100 drivers had been “accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the past four years.” These results were startling and put a strong focus on the company’s hiring and background check policies.
Rideshare companies like Uber were granted the right to operate in PA by Senate Bill 984, which was signed by Governor Tom Wolf in 2016. Part of the agreement stipulated that these companies must run background checks on all drivers. In a blog entry, the Governor wrote: “This bill also protects consumers with background checks and thorough vetting for drivers, making sure we are doing all we can to keep riders safe and secure.”
To help confirm and ensure the safety of PA residents, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission investigated Uber’s screening policies. Once completed, they released a report with their findings and recommendations.
The Commission found several areas in which Uber must improve. They included:
Implement Ongoing Background Screening. Uber runs background checks on people before granting them driving jobs. The Commission decreed that drivers must also authorize ongoing criminal monitoring to see if they incur new convictions.
Improve safety features on the mobile app. The commission recommends using more visible icons to help users identify and quickly access essential safety features on the Uber app.
Provide more details about complaints. Uber allows riders to file complaints, but the commission determined that most cases don’t provide sufficient details. The company is expected to make improvements in this area.
Share information about deactivated drivers. If a driver is let go due to safety concerns, then Uber is asked to share that information with relevant authorities.
Provide safety initiatives to all users. The commission noted that Uber has introduced safety features that are not yet accessible to everyone. They are asking for these features to be made more readily available.
Set goals. While Uber has implemented various performance metrics, the Commission determined they must also establish “key aspects of business performance (that) indicate how well the company is performing and drive improvement.”
Formalize policies. The commission decreed that Uber should have well-documented hiring and background screening policies. When ready, they should be available to everyone involved in hiring.
In addition to their report, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission created an Implementation Plan. It covers each recommendation and includes discussion about how these topics will be addressed. This document includes information about when each task must begin.
Takeaway For Employers
Background checks serve several purposes. They help employers make informed decisions by providing details about a candidate’s qualifications and eligibility. These reports can also provide a variety of criminal records searches that show if the individual has reportable convictions.
Current best practice is to review any conviction and determine if it is relevant to the position. Individuals who will provide services directly to consumers, such as rideshare operators, are subject to extra scrutiny. Public safety is a key issue for such jobs. Employers should be aware of the necessity to run criminal background checks before hiring and to utilize ongoing monitoring that helps ensure employees and contractors remain eligible.
Backgrounds Online is a Consumer Reporting Agency that provides FCRA compliant background checks, ongoing criminal monitoring and other essential services. If you need background reports that help you make informed decisions, create a safe workplace and show you are performing due diligence, please contact us. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.