June 1, 2018: Uber failed to institute thorough background checks and hired thousands of convicts as drivers. The company is under fire for failing to institute full background checks, misleading statements about the strength of background checks, and for failing to protect passengers from sexual assault. Uber has previously settled with District Attorneys from Los Angeles and San Francisco for misleading safety statements, and is being sued for sharing a rape survivors medical records among top executives.
Uber Background Checks
CNN investigated efforts by Uber and Lyft to lobby for softer standards on background checks. CNN reports:
Uber has played a key role in shaping the language of many state laws governing rideshare companies, giving the company authority to conduct its own background checks in most states with little or no oversight, unlike many taxi operations.
The result of Uber’s lobbying was 3 out of 4 states with screening laws used final language similar to or directly copying Uber’s recommended language, showing Uber was very successful in preventing stricter screening for would be rideshare drivers. CNN found legislative sources in 25 states that confirm Uber had a direct hand in writing rideshare background check laws. Wyoming state representative Dan Zwonitzer said Uber “drew a line in the sand” on background checks.
Instead of state run background checks that include all criminal convictions and frequently include fingerprint checks, Uber relies on a 3rd party private company (Checkr). The process does not involve fingerprinting and cannot always access state criminal history due to laws limiting what non-government agencies can receive. The result is an incomplete background search.
Uber Sexual Assault
As a result of lax background checks, over 100 Uber and Lyft drivers have been accused of abusing or assaulting passengers, some of these cases have already resulted in convictions. The latest CNN report lists these drivers were hired:
- A murder convict who stands accused of raping a passenger
- A murder convict on parole
- A felon for possession of firearms also accused of attempted smuggling of rocket launchers to the Middle East, attacking his spouse with a crowbar and attempting to hire a hitman, now convicted for committing rape during a rideshare
If you are the survivor of an assault or harassment during a rideshare, contact the Uber assault lawyers at Levin Simes Abrams. You can reach us to schedule a free private consultation at 415-426-3000, [email protected], or through our website.