Uber Background Check

Why Uber’s Biggest Problem Won’t Go Away: Background Checks

If you haven’t heard of Uber by now, you’ve probably been living under a rock. Uber is everywhere. In the United States alone, its services are available in 552 cities and counting. It also happens to be in the news on a fairly regular basis because of its sometimes controversial background check process.

Uber’s Background Check

First, let’s take a look at what a typical Uber background check looks like. Keep in mind that as different states and cities change their laws, these factors may change.

When you fill out an online application on the Uber website, you are also asked to consent to have your driver record checked and to have a background check run. You cannot advance any further in the employment process unless you consent to these required checks.

The following records are retrieved as part of Uber’s background check process:

  1. Motor Vehicle Records
  2. Past 7 years of Federal courthouse records
  3. Past 7 years of county courthouse records for every county applicant resided in during that time period
  4. Past 7 years of multi-state criminal database
  5. National Sex Offender Registry
  6. Social Security Trace

Uber requires its drivers to be licensed in the U.S. for at least one year or three years if under the age of 23. Drivers must have a clean MVR record (Motor Vehicle Report). Drivers with more than three incidents over the previous three years will not be considered, nor will drivers with DUIs or reckless driving charges. Also, drivers must not have any speeding offenses in which the driver violated the speed limit by more than 20 mph.

In addition to the driving safety requirements, Uber requires that driver’s pass a criminal background check. Violent felonies or misdemeanors associated with drugs, theft or violence are not allowed. Credit checks are not required with Uber.

How does Uber Compare to Taxi and Limo Companies with Background Checks?

While Uber seems to be under fire in one state or another on a fairly regular basis for its background check requirements, the truth is, is that it’s practice is consistent with other passenger transportation companies. The biggest difference would be that most taxi-cab and limousine services require their drivers to be fingerprinted. Uber has been strongly outspoken in its refusal to participate in the requirement of fingerprinting its drivers.

So, how does fingerprinting equal safer drivers?  Fingerprinting offers three main additional safeguards in the background check. One is that it ensures that the background check is run on the correct individual. There have been many instances reported in the media where a job applicant has lost a job opportunity when the background check was delivered on the wrong person. Fingerprinting keeps those mistakes from happening.

There is also a criminal monitoring option available with fingerprinting which audits for arrests or convictions which occur after the initial check is done. Companies can then be notified, usually within a day, of these offenses and take necessary action.

Finally, fingerprinting ensures that the applicant is not using someone else’s identity to apply for the position.  This is especially important when it comes to companies like Uber who hire online and never actually meet any applicants in person.

Why Uber is Against Fingerprinting

Uber has vigorously fought fingerprinting requirements in cities and states across the country and in some cases, pulled its operation out of a city. In May, 2016 Uber left the city of Austin, Texas after the majority of the community voted to require Uber to fingerprint its drivers. Uber and competitor Lyft spent more than $8 million to campaign against the requirement but voters responded differently. Both rideshare companies ceased services in the city within one week of the vote.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick spoke out about fingerprinting requirements during an interview at the seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit this past June in Palo Alto, California. Kalanick reasoned that the practice of fingerprinting has caused people to be flagged for an arrest even after the charges were dismissed or the person exonerated for the crime. . “We have systems in place where if you’re arrested, you literally can’t get work, even if you’re found to be innocent. And it’s unjust,” said Kalanick.

While Uber has been adamant about not being bullied into fingerprinting its drivers, it has conceded to city laws in some cases. For example, the city of Houston, Texas and New York City both require that drivers operating within city limits are fingerprinted.

Uber Policy Changes to Watch

In the past, Uber’s hiring policy prevented convicted felons from becoming drivers for the company. Uber has begun changing that policy in some states and is looking to spread these changes to other states.

In California, the passing of Proposition 47 encouraged Uber to allow non-violent convicted criminals the opportunity to work as a driver. Proposition 47 allows some drug possession felonies to be reduced to misdemeanors. It also requires that petty theft, forging or writing bad checks and receiving stolen property be classified as misdemeanors when the amount is $950 or less.

By early 2017, Uber will allow non-violent convicts in Rhode Island and Connecticut the opportunity to drive passengers. According to the plan which has already been approved, Uber will not disclose the criminal history of its drivers to passengers.

Final Thoughts

As homeland security concerns continue to plague the country, especially in the wake of attacks like the one at Fort Lauderdale Airport earlier this month, background checks and fingerprinting will continue to be brought to the forefront. Uber’s continued desire to fight fingerprinting and loosen its criminal conviction requirements will likely to keep the company in the media as it continues its fight to make its own hiring decisions.


SB Checks offers background check services for companies and individuals at all levels. We provide Level II Live Scan fingerprinting in addition to a wide array of individual screening services and industry-specific background checks. Call our professionals at (888) 725-2535 today for more information or visit sbchecks.com.