I have and will never take Uber or Lyft until drivers subject themselves to true background checks.
I’m glad you got an off duty Sherrif, Richard.
Leo A Ramirez Jr.

And how, exactly, do you define a “true background check”? The ones — used by the Austin taxi industry for decades — that only cross-reference the Texas DPS database? Yes, I know the City Council just rewrote its ordinance on the subject — after being called out for its brazen oversight and hypocrisy — but only after being explicitly called out on it by the Statesman:


You also fail to note why the electronic background checks Uber and Lyft use are not “true” in nature, as if fingerprinting were some sort of exact science instead of ink imprints on paper that are routinely lost or misfiled (hence the startlingly high false positive, and false negative, rate for fingerprint-based background checks) and, further, fail to even acknowledge the numerous documented problems with fingerprint checks (see above).

“gray area law … true of background checks and employment law, to name a few.”

Actually, not so much — which I say as a lawyer, incidentally. Extant employment law on both the federal level as well as in all but a handful of states — including Texas — quite clearly indicates that TNC drivers are validly classified as independent contractors. Lost amidst the numerous news stories (erroneously) covering the two lawsuits underway against Uber and Lyft in San Francisco is the fact that nearly all U.S. taxi drivers — who, if anything, have a much stronger moral argument that they deserve classification as employees — have worked as independent contractors for over 30 years now. Further, a D.C. Circuit case from 1983 explicitly overturned an NLRB ruling to the contrary — and, by the way, given that the D.C. Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction over federal agencies, its decisions qualify as national precedent except in the exceedingly rare instances they’re overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oh, and yes, all Austin taxi drivers are independent contractors, as are nearly all of the ones in California.

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