While background checks serve to weed out dishonesty on resumes and narrow large job applicant pools, their primary purpose will always be to ensure the safety of a company and its customers. Therefore, when any business responsible for the safety of others does not practice extreme caution in its hiring process, catastrophe ensues.
Thus is the case with Uber, one of the frontrunners of the taxi-alternative community. In late 2014, California prosecutors in San Francisco sued the company for not taking proper measures to vet its drivers. Prior to the lawsuit, Uber did not require their drivers to submit biometric data. Instead, applicants simply went on the company’s website and entered their personal information for their background checks, which meant that prospective drivers could potentially enter someone else’s information in order to gain employment. The thought is quite terrifying considering one Uber driver was charged with running down a child and another with rape and kidnapping.
The irony in the 2014 Uber safety debacle is that, while Uber does perform cab services for a variety of clientele, a huge portion of their clients utilize their services as an alternative to drinking and driving. When you consider the fact that Uber is responsible for drunk people on the regular, you have to question the company’s integrity as a whole if they aren’t at least getting fingerprints from their drivers.
Phillip Cardenas, the head of global safety for Uber commented, “No background check can predict future behavior and no technology can yet fully prevent bad actions.” While Cardenas is correct, criminal background data that a company gains from running prospective employee’s biometric data is paramount in preventing one’s clients from being in a dangerous situation, particularly if the clients’ motor skills and/or judgment are impaired.
The lawsuit levied by California prosectors also targeted Uber for surcharging its clients for running background checks when the company was not meeting the full extent of its due diligence. Unfortunately, the tragedies that have befallen Uber as a result of their irresponsible work force appear to be a direct result of old fashioned laziness and greed. Every background check takes time and money, and any company responsible for the care of others that doesn’t take the time to investigate its employees thoroughly probably isn’t worth yours.
So while many out there using the services of companies like Uber (and Lyft, which has had similar lawsuits filed against it) are trying to keep themselves safe, they might want to do some research on the party responsible for their safety before they take a ride from a potential stranger and even worse, possible criminal.