Update Thursday 5/25: Attorney Johanna Griffiths was on THE TAKE with Sue O’Connell NECN to discuss the hearing! Check out the video.
Update 5/24/17: Great turnout at the hearing on Tuesday! Details here. There is still time to submit public comments to the DPU/ through June 9th.
Update 4/21/17: Gov Baker made some very misleading comments about the rideshare rejection appeals process, noted in the Boston Business Journal here. The DPU has stated that 455 of 1472 appeals have been granted, however these are almost entirely appeals of “discretionary disqualifications”, and not anyone who failed because of the automatic conditional appeals. What people want and need is a way to appeal the license suspension from 5 years ago, or the 2 cwofs from 20 years ago, and explain their situation. Those appeals are still not even heard.
Update 4/13/17: More press today from the Globe. There are a few interesting nuggets in here:
- Unconfirmed story of a record seal fixing a CORI background check problem, but details are limited. The story sounds pretty fishy unfortunately, and does not agree with what we understand about the sealing process and the DPU access to supersede that.
- Hints that hearings and reform may be coming. Hearings are scheduled for May 23rd at 10am at the Transportation Building in Boston (10 park plaza). Public comments through June 9th. More details to follow.
- Gov Baker is quoted as not previously understanding that a suspended license from 6 years ago is not appealable, and is seemingly open to allowing that.
- Same with Mayor Carlo DeMaria of Everett. They are both definitely in the tough background checks camp, but express sympathy towards minor issues caught up. So there may be some room for negotiation if the hard liners are amenable. Stay tuned.
Update 4/7/17: This story was covered on Channel 7 News Boston, and attorney Johanna Griffiths of the Law Offices of Russell Matson was interviewed. Over 8000 (our of 71,000) drivers rejected on strict background checks.
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to help drivers with this issue, but we are hoping that media attention will bring changes to the background check strictness.
A new background check requirement for rideshare drivers (Uber/Lyft) in Massachusetts is having serious and unexpected consequences for drivers without a perfect driving record, or with some very minor or old criminal incidents. The standards being applied are extraordinarily strict and include non-conviction continuances, which were never meant to follow you for years or decades.
We’ve had quite a few calls from drivers who are shocked to learn they failed the check and are now out of a job. The Commonwealth has pledged to review every ride-hailing drivers background check under this new standard by April 3, 2017, and follow up with routine rechecks of drivers every six months to catch new incidents.
Governor Baker’s stated goal is to make these strict new checks “the most comprehensive in the country”.
But do they go too far? Are we limiting the ability to get work for people with minor incidents from many years in their past? [Read more…]