Ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft give the impression that their background checks help protect riders. Unfortunately, we at Estey & Bomberger know that the vetting practices of these companies are woefully inadequate. These companies need drivers as they look to expand their marketshare. Now that both Uber and Lyft have gone public, investors are looking to these companies to turn a profit. Expensive in-depth background checks not only affect the bottomline, but they eliminate many potential drivers. It’s no wonder then that an alleged war criminal accused of torture and directing mass executions found work as an Uber and Lyft driver.
Somali War Criminal Driving for Uber and Lyft
Yusuf Abdi Ali is a former Somali military commander living in suburban Virginia. While Ali has not been convicted of a crime, a simple search of his name on the internet reveals numerous news accounts and documents alleging he committed a multitude of atrocities while serving as a military commander during Somalia’s civil war in the 1980s. Ali denies all allegations against him, but the lack of oversight on the part of Uber and Lyft illustrates how flawed their background checks are.
Ali has been working for more than 18 months for Uber, and is listed by the app as an “Uber Pro Diamond” driver, rated at 4.89. When asked about the application process, Ali said that it was a breeze. Since the report was released showing Ali as an alleged war criminal, both Uber and Lyft has suspending him. This was of course due to the diligence of a journalist, not because either company’s system identified Ali as a potential danger to riders.
Estey & Bomberger Advocate for Rider Safety
We at Estey & Bomberger advocate changes to the background checks used by Uber and Lyft and will continue to do so until they make the necessary changes. We are all too familiar with the damage countless people have to deal with due to the lack of oversight by these companies. The case of Yusuf Abdi Ali is a new dimension that shows how poorly their background check system performs in vetting drivers with a violent past. Until the day Uber and Lyft decide to put the safety of their riders first, we will continue to fight for those who these companies put in harms way.