Beleaguered taxi and rideshare company, Uber, is in hot water again following the recent arraignment of driver Alejandro Done, accused of raping and kidnapping a young woman in Massachusetts earlier this month. The victim was allegedly told that she would have to pay for her ride in cash before Done drove her to a secluded area and attacked her. This is the fourth such accusation of inappropriate behavior by Uber drivers within the last 30 days. Additionally, an Uber driver in New Delhi, India was accused recently of raping a woman he was driving, which prompted the New Delhi government to ban the company from operating in the city. Uber has also been banned in Thailand and Spain, Seoul, South Korea, and Portland, Oregon.
Though Uber claims on its website that it has the “safest rides on the road,” it has received recent criticism for its aggressive pushback on legislation that would require drivers for Uber and companies like it to be subjected to the same rigorous employment background screening that traditional taxi drivers undergo. In Colorado, Uber successfully lobbied to lessen background checks in a bill that legalized its business model; similarly, in Illinois a lobbying campaign by Uber resulted in the veto of a bill requiring Uber to strengthen its background screening process. And in California, proposed legislation requiring a California state Justice Department background check for Uber drivers was killed after pressure from Uber and companies like it. These concerns are borne out by the news from New Delhi officials that the Uber driver accused of raping his customer was previously accused of raping a passenger in 2011, suggesting that Uber’s current security measures are simply not enough.
Uber vigorously defends its policies, arguing that its drivers are subjected to thorough employment background checks that are “often more rigorous than what is required to become a taxi driver.” Still, following the recent onslaught of negative publicity, the company has vowed to reexamine its policies regarding background screening and will seek to implement additional screening methods such as biometric identification and voice verification. Uber officials also say that it will allow for users to communicate with the company from within the widely available Uber app and will roll out a set of “safety incident response teams” to provide customer support in the event of an emergency. Uber’s head of global safety Philip Cardenas pointed out, however, that “…no background check can predict future behavior and no technology can yet fully prevent bad actions.” Beyond that, there was no timeline provided on when these additional security measures might go into effect.
Until these measures are implemented for every driver that Uber employs in 250 cities in 50 countries, hailing a ride with the growing company is very much a “rider beware” situation. Do you use the services Uber provides? Does the recent controversy surrounding its safety and security practices concern you? We would love to hear from you in the comments!
The Cedalius Group is the background screening company you can trust. All of our employment background screens are FCRA compliant at both the local and national level. Call us today at 404.963.9772 to find out how we can help ease security concerns for your business!
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