Uber has been upended in recent times for several issues, not least of which is the character of its drivers, and Uber’s ability to determine whether driver applicants are “uber” or “unter” par.
Uber seems in a blitz these days to get more drivers on the road, perhaps to clinch its hold on markets around the world. But oversights and, indeed sloppiness, have resulted in several lawsuits and a threats of service suspension.
For example, in the past year there have been at least 5 cases where Uber drivers have been charged with raping customers. Uber claims that all drivers must pass their “exhaustive” background screening process. But in at least one case, a driver had a lengthy criminal record, serving more than a decade in federal prison. And another Uber driver had an active warrant out for his arrest – but both somehow passed the “exhaustive” background check.
With so many drivers and growth, slip-ups are possible. And Uber argues that it does check federal courthouse records, a multi-state criminal database, motor vehicle records, the sex offender registry, and does Social Security traces. Uber claims that anyone charged with (or, more likely convicted of) sexual offenses, violent crimes, gun-related offenses, or resisting arrest (and probably other felonies) is not accepted.
But note that these are all “matters of record.” So if a driver applicant commits a crime AND is caught, AND is not in certain phases of the prosecution process – only then will the record probably appear in these criminal background-type checks.
However if a driver is making long posts online about troublesome sexual interests, uploads raunchy photos and brags about “finding” purses and wallets, these obvious concerns will not appear in a criminal background check. And this consequently leaves a gaping hole in Uber’s screening processes. It seems a safe bet that all Uber drivers have access to the Internet, and most are probably quite active at various social media, blogging or related sites – perhaps while waiting for their next fare. Is it negligent for Uber to not even look at this?
Social Media Background Checks normally take 2 or 3 days – perhaps outside of Uber’s blitz-approval window. However if Uber and its competitors are really serious about screening drivers, they should catch up with the times and conduct Social Media Background Checks before admitting new applicants into their systems.