Proposed Class Action Suit Filed Against Uber Claims Discriminatory Background Check Practices

On April 8, a class of individuals who were either denied employment or terminated by the ride-hailing company filed the suit in New York federal court.

The claim alleges that Uber Technologies Inc. violated the Fair Chance Act provision of New York City's Human Rights Law when adverse actions were taken against applicants and/or employees based on the results of background checks, disproportionately affecting Black and Latinx drivers.

Lead plaintiff, Job Golightly, had worked for Uber since 2014. Golightly claims he was fired in August, 2020 following a mandatory criminal background check which revealed a speeding ticket from 2013. According to the suit, agreeing to the background check (as conducted by consumer reporting agency Checkr) was mandatory. The black veteran taxi driver alleged that if he had chosen to not comply, Uber would have terminated his access to the mobile app.

It is Golightly's contention that Uber fired him without properly progressing through the steps outlined in the FCA, which require an employer to carefully consider specific factors such as the likelihood a conviction history could impact the employee's current work and the seriousness of the content reported back from the criminal history search. Further allegations include that Uber never permitted Golightly to see a copy of the background check, which is also required under the FCA.

"Uber's policy of wholesale noncompliance with the Fair Chance Act process imports the significant racial disparities in the criminal justice system into its driver applicant and retention process," the class of drivers said.

Employers are encouraged to review the provisions included in the Fair Chance Act to ensure all internal hiring and employee management protocols are in compliance.

Posted: April 19, 2021

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