WHAT’S NEW IN 2017 « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles



California’s New Criminal Background Checks For Transportation Network Companies

Effective January 1, 2017, AB 1289 (the Act) requires all transportation network companies (TNC) such as Uber and Lyft – businesses using an online-enabled platform to connect paying passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles – to conduct a local and national background check for each participating driver.

The Act specifically prohibits a TNC from contracting with, employing, or retaining a driver if she or he:

  • Is currently registered on the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Web site;
  • Within the previous seven years, has been convicted of: (1) any misdemeanor assault or battery; (2) any domestic violence offense; (3) driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or (4) any of a specified list of felonies (e.g., crimes against the executive power of the state, bribery, corruption, extortion, false personation, firearm crimes related to domestic violence, and others.)

A TNC may conduct the background check itself or have a third party do so. (Such third parties may in turn be regulated by federal and California laws for consumer reporting or investigative consumer reporting agencies. See, e.g., Pre-Employment Background Checks and Background Check for Employment.)

A business affected by the Act must include a local and national criminal background check for each participating driver that shall include a “multistate and multi-jurisdiction criminal records locator or other similar commercial nationwide database with validation,” as well as the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website.

A TNC that fails to comply with this Act is subject to a penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for each offense.

However, if you are subject to the Act and have a business in Los Angeles or San Francisco, it is a good idea to check with a knowledgeable attorney before doing any such required criminal background checks. Each of those cities has a potentially conflicting “Ban the Box” ordinance prohibiting a criminal background check prior to an offer of employment.  Legal guidance can thus help determine the best possible sequence for complying with these potentially conflicting laws.

For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Helena Kobrin

February 10, 2017