Uber, a renowned cab service provider headquartered in the USA, has been all over the news lately. Unfortunately, it has been in the media for not-so-good reasons. As a result, it is facing a huge reputation crisis.

In February this year, a former female employee opened up about her unpleasant experiences at Uber through a blog piece. The blog alleged that a manager at the company sexually harassed the female employee and also reported the non-cooperative nature of the HR department. Later, a senior executive at Uber had been asked to resign due to his past sexual harassment records. All of this has raised doubts about Uber’s background screening process and safety of the women working with the brand. While this was the case abroad, Uber’s background screening process has been questioned several times in India as well. Let us see why.

Lack of Background Screening threatens Uber’s Credibility in India

Since its arrival in 2013, Uber has been embraced by Indians. Sure, Uber is serving more than 20 cities in the nation, but safety of passengers is always a concern. Hardly after a year of its operations in Delhi, a molestation case against an Uber driver had been filed. This not only caused an outrage amongst the public but also led to a ban on the brand’s services in the nation’s capital. While the ban was revoked later, the incident questioned the background screening policy for drivers at Uber. The accused driver had been involved in a similar act in the past and was detained for 7 months in the prison. This episode revealed that Uber did not conduct any background screening on drivers. As reported in a Business Insider article, all that was required of a driver was valid insurance documents, driver’s license, and a commercial taxi permit.

 

Several such cases of molestation and sexual harassment have been reported against Uber drivers in India. In July 2015, yet another woman passenger in Kolkata faced an awkward situation while travelling in Uber. According to a news piece in the Indian Express, the driver was involved in an obscene act in the presence of the woman passenger. Daily Dot also published an article of another attempt of crime against women by an Uber Driver.

Apart from sexual assaults on women, there are those Uber drivers who abuse their customers. A Bangalore incident reported by India Today stated that an Uber driver talking over the phone while driving, was abusing the passenger and expressing disappointment over the destination.

Drivers of such reputed global brands are expected to be well-mannered and free from any kind of offensive history. Contrary to this expectation, the brand Uber has been involved in cases of crimes against women. Though Uber does not categorize drivers as employees, the lack of a stringent background screening process has led to doubts about the safety of women who use the cab service, questioning the firm’s stature. Such cases have definitely awakened this billion dollar company towards the threats to its reputation, but have they adopted a stringent background check policy on drivers yet? If so, is that enough?

Uber’s Verification Process and Background Screening in India

Cases of sexual crimes and violence against women, be it customers or employees, have raised serious concerns about the brand’s safety and screening policy. After the tragic Delhi incident, as mentioned in the paragraph above, Uber adopted a stringent screening practice for its drivers. These checks involve address verification, strict criminal check, police verification, and inspections to detect fraud in driving and vehicle licenses.

The rising number of frauds in employment and forged resumes have not only awakened the need for background screening but also challenged the accuracy of background screening in India. Employee verifications can neither eliminate the chance of crimes, nor it can change the psyche of a person, but it can definitely help in reducing risks. While background checks have seen drastic improvements, those fueling frauds are also trying to outsmart the system. The introduction of Aadhaar and the government’s drive to link it to bank accounts and education certificates is bound to change the game. The inclusion of biometrics that authenticates Aadhaar will make the screening process more accurate. While this will be beneficial to Uber, its system of screening using psychometrics in Mexico may also help answer its woes.

Thanks to Uber’s background screening process, in spite of these blots on its repute, the brand is still widely popular over the globe. Though Uber has embraced a comprehensive background check process, what innovative screening strategy it uses to ward off the rising credibility threats is still to be seen. But, the crisis faced by Uber is an example to firms, whether big or small, to adopt background screening as a primary part of recruitment. Background screening in India evaluates every single detail of a candidate to ensure the organisation is safe from bad hires. Collaborating with a trusted screening partner will ensure safety at work and help maintain your organisation’s standing.