BOSTON (CBS) – The day after Uber and Lyft drivers told the I-Team they lost their jobs because of background checks that are unfair, Governor Charlie Baker said the rules are all about public safety. “This was done to protect public,” he said, talking about recent cases in which drivers were arrested for violent crimes in the last few months.
Former Uber Driver Erik Scott agrees the background checks are necessary but believes they went too far in his case. “If their record is clean, they should be able to work,” he said.
Scott had a couple of cases on his record that were continued without a finding and eventually dismissed. But that was enough to disqualify him. “I’m not a convicted felon. I can vote. I can work. I have no charges pending against me. I’m shocked,” he said.
Harold Druss of Newton is in the same boat. He was disqualified for a driving offense that was not a conviction. “I have no way to pick up that income that I lost,” he said. “I need that income.”
So why is this happening? Lawmakers outlined standards for background checks last year. But Uber and Lyft also agreed in a memo to allow the Department of Public Utilities to conduct even more stringent background checks. They include disqualifiers for any case that was continued without a finding, even if it was later dismissed. The checks also look back at the driver’s entire history.
In Harold’s case, that goes back more than 50 years. “To allow people to look back 59 years and take away my driving privileges for something that I wasn’t found guilty of, it just sounds crazy,” he said.
Governor Baker told us the final regulations on the background checks are still being worked out. “I don’t know the specifics of the cases you are discussing, but we are certainly going to learn a lot from this and we will incorporate the learning in the final process,” he said.