Background Check Clearance Certificate
The Transportation Network Company (TNC) Division of the Department of Public Utilities oversees all rideshare companies in Massachusetts. A part of the Division’s role is to regulate all rideshare drivers by conducting background checks and issuing background check clearance certificates. Without a background check clearance certificate, you cannot drive for Uber or Lyft. And while you have a right to appeal the denial of a background check clearance certificate, most rideshare drivers are unfamiliar with these administrative hearings. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy regularly assists rideshare applicants who were denied a background check clearance certificate. Attorney Murphy commands an impressive understanding of the relatively recent laws governing rideshare drivers and can ensure your appeal is given the attention it deserves.What Are the Rideshare Driver Requirements in Massachusetts?
To drive for Uber, Lyft or any other rideshare driver in Massachusetts, you must obtain both a transportation network driver certificate and a background check clearance certificate. The transportation network company—most often, Uber or Lyft—issues the transportation network driver certificate. However, a rideshare company cannot issue a transportation network driver certificate unless it first receives a background check clearance certificate from the TNC Division.
In this way, the biggest hurdle to becoming a rideshare driver is obtaining your background check clearance certificate. Essentially, if you obtain your background check clearance certificate, it’s up to Uber or Lyft whether they want to allow you to drive for the company.What Is a Background Check Clearance Certificate, and How Do You Get One?
A background check clearance certificate is essentially a document stating that the Department of Public Utilities has reviewed your driving history and criminal record and determined that you are suitable to become a rideshare driver. Once you apply to become a driver, Uber or Lyft will coordinate with the Department of Public Utilities to conduct a background check. Other than providing your consent, there is nothing you need to do. If you pass the background check, the TNC Division will issue you a background check clearance certificate.Why Did the TNC Division Deny My Background Check Clearance Certificate?
There are a few things that can prevent you from becoming a rideshare driver. First, you must be the basic requirements under Massachusetts law, which include:
- You must be at least 21 years old;
- You must have access to an eligible vehicle;
- You must have the necessary auto insurance;
- You cannot be on the National Sex Offender Registry; and
- You cannot have certain disqualifying convictions.
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, you must be “suitable to perform transportation network services, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 159A½. This is where the background check requirement comes into play. Subsections (c) and (d) outline the framework for the background-check requirement. Essentially, this is a two-part background check—one by the rideshare company and another by the TNC Division. Additionally, a rideshare company must conduct ongoing reviews at least every six months, and the TNC Division conducts annual reviews.
The TNC Division can deny a background check clearance certificate for several reasons. Most often, a driver is denied a background check clearance certificate because of a prior criminal conviction, several minor traffic offenses, or one major traffic offense. In reviewing an application, the TNC Division can even consider cases that end in a Continuation Without a Finding (CWOF). In fact, the Division can even deny a background check clearance certificate based on “reliable information” demonstrating you acted in a manner that put another person in danger or if the Division finds that issuing the certificate “is not consistent with the public interest.”
Given this framework, the TNC Division has tremendous discretion in whether to award a background check clearance certificate. As a result, many qualified drivers find that they are prevented from becoming a rideshare driver.
An experienced Uber and Lyft driver lawyer can help with the administrative appeals process. You have 30 days from the date the TNC Division denies your claim to file a formal appeal. If you are serious about your rideshare career, it is essential that you retain an experienced attorney to represent you through this process.Are You Being Prevented from Driving for Uber or Lyft?
If you recently applied for a background check clearance certificate and were denied by the TNC Division, reach out to the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy. Attorney Murphy regularly represents rideshare driver applicants in administrative appeals, helping them prove their eligibility. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Boston rideshare administrative appeals lawyer today, call (617) 367-0450 . You can also reach Attorney Murphy through the firm’s online contact form.