Uber Hit With Massive Fine in Colorado Background Check Case

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

November 30, 2017

A Colorado agency has ordered Uber to pay an $8.9 million fine for allowing nearly 60 drivers to work for it despite possessing background check information that should have disqualified them under the law.

An investigation by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) revealed that Uber hired at least a dozen drivers with felony convictions, 17 with major moving vehicle violations and three more with recent drunk driving convictions. In a statement, the agency's director said Uber had the background information about these drivers and hired them anyway.

The probe into the ride-sharing company's hiring practices reportedly began after an Uber driver assaulted a passenger in Vail, Colorado, earlier this year. The driver allegedly dragged a passenger out of the car and kicked him in the face.

The hefty fine is based on a citation of $2,500 per day for each disqualified driver found to have worked. "These actions put the safety of passengers in extreme jeopardy," said PUC Director Doug Dean in a statement. He also called the company's background checks "inadequate."

Uber said that it recently discovered an error in its background check process in Colorado and began working to correct the issue. This multimillion-dollar penalty comes on the heels of a lawsuit being filed in San Francisco claiming that numerous female Uber passengers have endured rape, sexual assault and other physical violence while using the service. The lawsuit seeks class action status.