Uber comes under criticism for not fingerprinting drivers in background checks

Company says fingerprinting wouldn't have prevented the Kalamazoo murders

The Kalamazoo murders have put Uber’s policy on background checks into the spotlight. The company does background checks, but they do not utilize 7759-BROLL UBER.Copy.01.Copy.01_frame_2082fingerprints in those background checks.

It’s fair to say when you call an Uber, or any ride service for that matter, you have some expectation your driver has been checked out. But some say, especially in light of the Kalamazoo massacre, that the company does not go far enough.

Jason LiVecchi has been driving for Uber for more than two years now. CW6 asked him what kind of background check the company did on him.

4CW60014_01_frame_11311“I did give them my driver’s license number, my social security number and I gave them my approval, my signed approval to do a background check,” LiVecchi said.

But no fingerprints. “The big question that they’re asking is not whether should we do a background check, but what kind of background check should we do?” said San Diego State Business Ethics Professor Dr. Wendy Patrick.

4CW60014_01_frame_6685Uber now finds itself under renewed criticism, mainly from taxi cab companies and limousine services, companies they’re in direct competition with, about fingerprinting drivers as part of their background check.

“Uber comes back from that and argues, even if we had fingerprinted this guy, there was nothing to find. But will that always be the case?” Patrick asked.

In fact, Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief of security said in a media conference call today, “I don’t think we will change our screening practices because no background check would have flagged this driver.”

In addition, the company said fingerprints often include so-called “false positives”, people that have been arrested who should not have been. Presumably that would unfairly preclude them from being employed with Uber.

But Wendy Patrick said that argument doesn’t fly with some people. “People still say you should be doing the maximum amount that you can to ensure that when strangers get into a car with a driver, that’s somebody that’s been checked out and vetted beforehand.”

We asked LiVecchi what he would think about getting fingerprinted. “Fingerprints, yeah sure, why not? If that’s the norm at some other companies, why not have that be the norm at Uber as well?”

A more immediate headache for Uber could be what some of Dalton’s passengers are saying about his behavior that night.

One of them told a horror story about Dalton receiving a phone call and then proceeding to drive like a maniac, running into cars, running stop signs, before the passenger bailed at a red light. The rider said he informed Uber about the behavior.  So far, no word from Uber about that.


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