Rejected Ride-Hailing Drivers Have Little Recourse in Mass.

Employment, Racial Justice, Uncategorized

Massachusetts, the first state to conduct comprehensive background checks of ride-hailing companies, barred 8,206 drivers for Uber and Lyft in Massachusetts, according to the Boston Globe.  There is virtually no way for the vast majority of dismissed drivers to overturn their rejections, including those with relatively minor traffic violations or who had incidents that were settled and ultimately dismissed by the courts. As the Boston Globe reported:

A local civil rights lawyer argued the background checks might invite discrimination lawsuits, saying standards that disqualify workers without considering their individual circumstances disproportionately affect racial minorities, who have higher rates of prosecution and incarceration than whites.

“This is a critical civil rights issue. We have a problem in this country with mass incarceration and over-policing, particularly in communities of color, and it’s very disturbing to have the state compounding that problem by cutting off employment opportunities in this way,” said Oren Sellstrom, litigation director for the Boston-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice.

Sellstrom noted that the Lawyers’ Committee is considering legal action to address this matter. The Lawyers’ Committee recently filed a discrimination complaint against online retailing giant Amazon for allegedly directing its delivery contractors to fire any driver who flunked a private background check, which the group said disproportionately harmed minority workers. The case is pending.

Read more about this discrimination matter in the Boston Globe.