06 Jan For Uber, Background Checks are Vital
Who’s driving you?
Uber has revolutionized the taxi industry with its innovative model of hiring drivers that use their own cars and Uber’s system to work when they want and keep vehicles near major business centers. But with that model comes risk, and for Uber and those seeking to emulate its business design in other industries, background checks are vital to customer safety and even staying in business.
The Risks Of Uber
The troubles Uber has experienced shows the necessity of background checks. Here are just a few of the problems and even crimes Uber’s customers have experienced.
In Colorado, a driver was arrested for sexually assaulting a drunken passenger and attempting to follow her and her friend to their hotel room.
In New Hampshire, a driver was arrested on unlawful wiretapping charges.
In San Francisco a driver threatened to rape and murder a passenger.
In Australia a driver is accused of dragging a passenger out of his car and running her over.
Uber itself would argue that these are isolated incidents within a wider, far more satisfied customer base. And it would also be correct in asserting that Uber passengers sometimes assault the drivers. That said, however, it’s clear that not every Uber driver can, or should, be working with the public, and that Uber could do a better job protecting its customers.
Long-term, this may be a larger problem than the company realizes. Currently it avoids negligent hiring liability, that is, being liable for not checking the backgrounds of its employees more thoroughly, by claiming their employees are independent contractors. However, it seems unlikely Uber will be allowed to continue claiming this, as its employees unionize and sue them for employee status. When that happens, the company may soon find itself struggling with far more than just employee anger.
Know who’s behind the wheel.
How Background Checks Can Help
It seems obvious that a detailed background check can find the more dangerous drivers in an applicant pool, just by rooting out potential problems with arrest records. But, more importantly, especially if you’re looking to develop a service using a model similar to Uber’s, is to have a handle on this issue before it becomes a problem.
Part of the issue the company struggles with is that they’ve grown incredibly quickly. From a 2009 launch, the company went global in 2012 and is currently considered one of the top fifty most powerful companies in the world by some metrics. When the company is forced to consider its drivers employees, it’s going to have to backfill an enormous number of current and former employee background checks, costing them millions.
If you’re using a similar business model, then you should think beyond the next financial quarter. Background checks will not only ensure you’ve got the best people working for you now, it insulates you from liability if something does go wrong. There’s only so much even the most cautious employee screening process can achieve, but by putting a solid background check process in place, you can make your company safer for your employees, your customers, and for you. Request a free background check trial today to see what employment checks you can implement.