Search Site
Menu
7041 Koll Center Parkway, Suite 240 | Pleasanton, California 94566

The rideshare giant Uber has made news headlines again for its hiring policies. This time, however, it is not because some employee or driver is concerned over their treatment. The most recent complaint lodged against the company is that the criminal background check performed during the hiring process for drivers is allegedly not stringent enough to bar individuals who have been convicted of felonies. The company’s response has so far been in the form of a question: ‘Why should it be?’

Uber Defends its Seven Year Limit

While the headlines use colorful words such as “sex offender” and “murderer” to describe some Uber drivers, the company’s statement in support of its hiring policies is surprising to many. In its statement against using Livescan, a program used by taxi companies that is fingerprint-based, the company agreed that customer safety is a priority. However, it also said that this alternative has led to potential employees being turned away due to an arrest record that never led to a charge or conviction, which can have a disparate impact on minority applicants.

Some may say that Uber is taking a fairly bold (and wrong) stance by standing up for “murderers” or “sex offenders.” The company sees it differently, according to previous statements defending its policy of a seven-year limit for the pre-employment criminal history check. As Uber has stated previously, the seven-year review “strikes the right balance between protecting the public while also giving ex-offenders the chance to work and rehabilitate themselves.”

Standard Employment Practices

Much of the law governing how deep an employer may dig into a prospective employee’s criminal history depends on state statutes. In California, applicants are provided protections that employers in other states are not bound by. Specifically, California employers are not allowed to ask prospective employees about prior arrests that did not result in convictions. This prohibition extends to any diversion programs that the applicant may have been referred to in lieu of a conviction. Employers cannot ask about any convictions that have been sealed, expunged, or absolved by statute. While an employer may ask an applicant about some arrests – i.e. those for which the person is currently pending trial – it should use caution so as to avoid overstepping any legal boundaries.

Whether a company decides to take an approach similar to that of Uber, or a more conservative approach, is ultimately up to its leaders. They should keep in mind, however, that the motivations behind such a decision can be just as important as the ultimate policy that is drafted, as they may come into play if the company is ever sued for alleged labor law or anti-discrimination law violations.

Questions?

If you are a business leader and have questions about your company’s employment policies, we can help. The attorneys at Garcia & Gurney have years of experience guiding employers in California to ensure that they are in compliance with state and federal laws, while still creating policies that are tailored to the unique needs of the business.

Contact us

Please fill out the form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.

Quick Contact Form

Awards/Affiliations
Events and News
  • "New Laws for 2018November 15, 2017"

  • "E-Contracts & E-Signatures: Benefits and PitfallsOctober 18, 2017"

  • "Protecting your IPAugust 9, 2017"

  • "Medical Marijuana & Employment: The Do’s and Don’tsJune 28, 2017"

  • "Medical Marijuana & Employment: The Do’s and Don’tsApril 10, 2017"

Client Testimonials
  • "Melinda Garcia came very highly recommended by two colleagues who raved about her expertise and assertiveness. She and her team are extremely responsive and help us navigate the legal challenges of our consulting business. We're thrilled to have Melinda on our side!"

  • "Melinda Garcia was wonderful to work with. She is an outstanding listener and has a great memory for details and personal information.... which makes one feel very comfortable and welcome. I would highly recommend her to anyone not only because of her outstanding abilities but because of the compassion she eludes in dealing with an individual's issues/concerns."

  • "Highly recommend! I was in need of urgent help with an employment matter and Melinda Garcia came through for me the same day. She fit me in for a consultation within hours of my call and read my documents prior to our meeting. She was thorough, attentive to my needs, knowledgeable, professional and above all very comforting."

  • "Melinda Garcia provided me excellent advice in resolving an employment agreement related to an acquisition of the company I worked for. She is very knowledgeable, asked me what I wanted to achieve with her services, provided excellent service to achieve those goals, and was very cognizant of fees. I recommend her for employment related services."

  • "Melinda Garcia provided excellent guidance with an employment/compensation case. Her knowledge of employment law, and strong negotiation skills, brought the case to a successful conclusion."

  • "Melinda Garcia has done an excellent job assisting us as we established our small business. From incorporation to contract negotiations, Melinda Garcia and her staff were outstanding"