Uber sent me an email letting me know that my account was temporarily waitlisted while they await my approval to run my background check another time for a yearly background check refresh. It was a surprising email that came without any warning and very little explanation. Here’s what the email looked like:
The subject line of the email was “Account Waitlisted: Act Today to Continue Driving,” and the headline on top said “Refresh Your Background Check” with this message beneath:
“Your Account is Temporarily Waitlisted
Douglas, this is a reminder to provide consent for Uber to refresh your background check with Checkr.
As of 12pm today, Friday, Jan 22, your account has been waitlisted from the Uber app. Consent today to have your account reactivated.”
Hmmm, that’s odd. I passed the background check way back in 2014! Why does Uber run your background check after you’ve passed, and what does the process look like?
Why does Uber run your background check after you’ve passed?
When Uber asks you to re-consent to a background check, they’re looking to see if you meet their current background standards. You may have passed a year or two ago, but since then Uber suspects some of their drivers may have committed offenses that would prevent them from continuing to drive.
To make the situation even more frustrating for some drivers, Uber doesn’t always ask you to re consent. One of my readers said, “Uber didn’t even ask me to consent to a second background check, I just received an email that they were doing it.”
Uber will re-run your background check if:
- Your background check was performed over a year ago. Uber wants to see if you’ve gotten any new driving record issues or criminal offenses. How long will it be before Uber wants to re-run your check? It’s not a consistent, set time period, but 1.5–2 years is common
- Uber changed the background check requirements in your area and wants to re-check you to see if you meet the new standards
Uber will not always notify you that they need to re-run your check!
In 2016 Uber asked me to re-consent to a background check. In 2017, I logged into my account one day to find that it was stuck in the “onboarding” status and I couldn’t log into the driver app without entering my social security number. After I did that, my account magically became “active” again! It felt like I had been deactivated, but it was actually Uber’s very indirect and insensitive way of making me redo my background check.
The steps you have to take to complete a yearly follow-up Uber background check
Completing your second background check is just like the first one: Enter your information, click through a few screen of legal messages, and electronically sign the document.
- Enter your personal information
- Click through the “Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)” info sections
- The gist: You have the right to know the information inside the background check, you have the right to know if info inside was used in a decision against you, you have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate info
- Click through the “Uber disclosure regarding Background investigation”
- The gist: You’re giving Uber permissions to run a background check, you have the right to know the nature and scope of the screening
- Sign the “Acknowledgement and authorization for background check”
- The gist: You are giving Checkr, the background check agency that Uber contracts, permission to get background information about you from various public and private agencies
Is there anything new and unusual here? No. This is the same consent information you agreed to the first time you applied to drive for Uber. It is worth knowing that some states give you the right to request a copy of the information fetched in the background check.
What happens if you don’t do the yearly background check refresh?
Some drivers report ignoring this message and continuing to drive without issue, but Uber can deactivate you for refusing the second check. If you want to continue driving, you should re-consent.
Will you pass your yearly background check?
If you passed the first time and nothing major has happened since then, you’ll likely pass the second time. But if Uber decides to dig further back in your past on this second check, as they have done in some states, it is possible that you can be deactivated. All you can do to prevent getting deactivated on your second background check is to make sure that you deal with any legal issues as soon as they come up, and to try to have old issues expunged from your record.
What to do if you get deactivated following your follow-up background check
Uber may deactivate you if they find a new issue on your background check that violates their current standards. Even if you passed the background check previously and your record has stayed the same, Uber may still deactivate you because they updated their standards or the Uber employee looking at your profile simply made a different decision.
There isn’t a way to directly appeal Uber’s decision, but you can try reapplying in 3-6 months. Unfortunately your odds of getting re-hired are very low, but it’s worth trying if you still want the job.