- The Washington Post reports that Maryland dropped 15% of ride-hail drivers for failing background checks. The state's Public Service Commission (PSC) said that more than 95% of the rejected drivers once worked for Uber. Rejected drivers included 460 applicants with criminal histories that disqualified them, and 900 had issues with their driving records, said the Post, citing the PSC.
- Uber said “outdated” screening methods were responsible for the number of rejected drivers, the Post reports. The company claimed that it followed the PSC's standards issued in December 2015. It also said that fewer drivers would be dismissed by the state when it rolls out its new screening requirements. According to the Post, however, PSC employees had been applying broader background check standards until a week ago.
- The difference between the PSC's background-checking standards and the ride-hailing companies' standards have raised concerns about Uber and Lyft's ability to effectively screen drivers.
Employers might not have thought much about doing background screenings on independent workers, but Maryland's experience should make them aware of the need to ensure that any worker they do business with won't pose undue risks.
Not all checks are created equal. Employers should likely align their background checks or employ a vendor that reaches the same standards as public groups require.
Background checks might be even more crucial for independent contractors, freelancers, temporary workers and consultants because their status as non-employees gives employers less direct control over their work. By 2020, as much as 50% of the workforce could be contingent — putting pressure on employers to both source and vet this growing group.