More than 8,000 ride-hailing drivers were disqualified under a new state law, representing 11 percent of applicants.Approximately 8,200 Uber and Lyft drivers in Massachusetts failed to pass a new state background check, representing 11 percent of applicants.The state recently implemented a new licensing program for ride-hailing drivers and "transportation network companies." Certain convictions, such as violent crimes and certain drunk-driving offenses, carry an unlimited look-back period while others are ignored after three to seven years.
More than 50 sex offenders were rejected, along with 352 drivers with "sex, abuse and exploitation" records, according to the Boston Globe.
State law is said to prohibit employers from considering violations more than seven years old for their own internal background checks. Uber argues that the unlimited look-back period is unfair to drivers. Other critics argue that the program should not include charges that ended with a "continuation without a finding," essentially a settlement below a guilty plea or conviction.
"Thousands of people in Massachusetts have lost access to economic opportunities as a result of a screening that includes an unfair and unjust indefinite lookback period," Uber said. "We have an opportunity to repair the current system in the rules process so that people who deserve to work are not denied the opportunity."
Massachusetts appears to have taken a particularly tough stance after an Uber driver was arrested for allegedly raping a 16-year-old passenger near Boston in 2016.