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Uber & City of Houston Continue to Discuss Value of Fingerprint Database Checks

  April 25, 2017

The ride-hailing company Uber and the city of Houston continue to have a contentious relationship as Uber continues to operate in the city. At the heart of this contentious relationship is whether applicants who apply to be drivers need to submit to a fingerprint background check. Currently that requirement exists, but Uber is looking to change that. Their contention is that the FBI fingerprint database contains many inaccuracies and does not offer any additional safety when mandated along with a name-based criminal background check. 

Houston’s Mayor recently made a statement alleging that 50% of Uber applicants have some form of criminal record, making the point that a fingerprint database check is necessary to maintain safety. Uber disputes that figure. 

Uber is currently working to help push legislation through the Texas legislature to eliminate that requirement. Two bills, HB100 and SB361 have advanced through committees. 

This story is a great example of possible misconceptions that can exist between what the FBI database is and what it delivers to employers. It is up to employers to always conduct FCRA compliant background checks. Here are some points to consider: 

  • There is no single government database containing complete and up-to-date records regarding a person’s criminal history.
  • Records within the FBI fingerprint database may not be updated on regular intervals, so there is no guarantee the employer is viewing the most up to date information.
  • When using a CRA (credit reporting agency), the CRA will automatically filter their information to remain compliant with regulations. This lowers the risk of an employer violating a hiring law. When using the FBI database, employers would need to perform this task themselves.
  • Using a CRA offers the consumer a formal and fair process to challenge and correct any information before a hiring decision is made. The FBI or state agency does not offer the consumer the same fair process. 

Name-based searches based on applicant’s address history are the employer’s best opportunity to properly screen applicants. By pulling records directly from the source the employer has the best chance to receive the most up to date and accurate information straight from the county court level. 

Read our whitepaper – Background Screening: Name-Based Searches vs. Fingerprinting to see a comparison of both types of searches. 

Learn more about our various products & services at IntelliCorp. 

Here is a link to a story on the subject:

Houston Mayor: 50 Percent of Uber Driver Applicants have Criminal Record
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