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Uber sued over background checks of drivers

By Legal News Line | Jan 5, 2015

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SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - A class action lawsuit alleges a popular riding service performed background checks that weren't as extensive as advertised.

Matthew Philliben and Byron McKnight filed the lawsuit Dec. 23 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Uber Technologies alleging the background checks don't require fingerprints and don't take enough steps to ensure that employment applicants are in fact who they represent to be.

Uber claims it's background check process is “industry-leading" and is “more rigorous” than taxi driver applicants, the lawsuit said.

“Unlike many background checks, Uber's process does not utilize fingerprints or even require the applicant to appear in person,” the lawsuit said.

Uber asks applicants to give their name, address, driver's license number and Social Security number through a web page. The information is given to a company, Hirease, Inc., that performs the background check, the lawsuit said.

Hirease includes a statement in its report that stating the “final verification of an individual's identity and proper use of report contents are the user's responsibility," the lawsuit said.

“In contrast, many taxi regulators, such as those in Uber's hometown of San Francisco, employ a fingerprint identification technology known as 'Live Scan,'” the lawsuit said. “This process is essential in preventing fraud and abuse of the most basic sort in background checks: applicants who could not otherwise pass a background check borrowing or stealing the identity of another person in order to pass.”

The lawsuit seeks more than $5 million in damages.

The plaintiffs are represented by Mike Arias and Alfredo Torrijos of Arias, Ozzello & Gignac, LLP and Steven D. Liddle and Nicholas A. Coulson of Liddle & Dubin, P.C.

United States District Court Northern District of California case number 4:14-cv-05615.

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