Ensuring Fairness in Background Checks for On-Demand Work
National Employment Law Project
In addition to the National Employment Law Project's recommendation that on-demand companies fully embrace the civil rights and consumer protection laws that protect jobseekers with arrest and conviction records, this report urges policymakers to do the following:
- Issue Guidance Regulating On-Demand Employers: Enforcement agencies, like the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, can issue guidance to establish that most on-demand workers, even those classified as independent contractors, are explicitly entitled to the protections of these laws. State labor agencies can issue guidance that workers for specific on-demand companies or sectors are in fact employees subject to the protections of the state’s labor and employment laws.
- Reform Occupational Licensing Procedures and Consideration of Records: States should reform their occupational licensing laws—in particular, those that regulate industries in the on-demand economy—to reduce barriers for people with arrest and conviction records.
- Ensure Protections Apply Regardless of Worker Classification: Any state or local policy that applies to workers in the on-demand economy should ensure that the law is not written narrowly to exclude workers classified as independent contractors from labor or fair-chance hiring protections.
- Ensure Any Restrictions Are Reasonable and Transparent: Whenever policymakers consider laws that impose work and licensing restrictions on people with specific criminal histories, those restrictions should be reasonable and transparent, with a clear and rational connection between the past criminal conviction and the work the applicant is seeking, such that the restriction is legitimately justified to protect consumers and the public.