Blog

 
     

Care.com Hit with Large Settlement Over False Background Check Claims

By Michael Klazema on 7/30/2020

Where do you turn when you need help finding a regular babysitter, or someone to watch over your pets while you're away on vacation? For many thousands of web users, the answer was the website Care.com, a service which allows users to hire individuals for a wide variety of tasks. With fewer community resources available and a market that desires on-demand services, such business models have become customary across industries. Safety, though, is a critical concern in any sector. 

How can a Care.com user trust that the person they hire to care for an elderly relative or to clean the house won't abuse the opportunity or cause harm? The service itself does not provide any vetting or verification of credentials when someone signs up to provide help through the site. Instead, they offer users the opportunity to purchase background checks for an additional fee as they consider whether to hire someone or not. It was this aspect of their service that led to a $1 million settlement agreement in July of 2020. 

In a lawsuit filed by San Francisco Bay-Area district attorneys, it was alleged that Care.com misrepresented the background checks they provided. Specifically, they claim to provide a search of the National Sex Offender Registry for a higher price. Naturally, this is an essential service, especially for those searching for childcare. The problem: the national registry is only available to law enforcement. Agreeing to settle the suit, Care.com representatives said that the site had already introduced a different product with more explicit terms to address the issue and admitted no wrongdoing. 

Although the service did serve users with results from some sex offender registries, the DAs alleged that it misled consumers to believe that they were receiving a comprehensive look into an individual's criminal past. Though every state maintains its own offender registry, there is no publicly-facing way to search a record maintained at the national level. Instead, public users have a separate website that lets them search each state's registry individually. Not every crime may be included in these registries. 

Vetting is a crucial part of hiring any part-time help, but especially those who will have access to your home or vulnerable individuals. Checking a prospective caregiver's background, both for criminal charges and sex offender status is not a step anyone should skip. Manually searching every registry is a tedious and time-consuming task, however, made simpler by more streamlined and cost-competitive products such as the US Offender OneSEARCH by backgroundchecks.com. Such an instant and detailed look into the individual state registries saves time and provides essential insights for hiring decisions. 

When relying on third-party contracting services, such as those at Care.com, users should carefully inspect the terms and conditions to which they agree. Investigating the scope and reliability of the service's background vetting is advisable, too. Making the right choice and hiring a trustworthy caregiver is always worth the extra time and effort.


Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • July 30 A website used for hiring temporary household workers settled with California prosecutors who said the business misrepresented the types of background checks it offered to consumers.
  • July 29

    As the economy recovers from the blow struck by COVID-19, many employers and staffing agencies are getting back to hiring and recruitment. Here are some of the ways in which the pandemic has shifted recruiting—perhaps forever.

     

  • July 28

    Pay equity laws bar employers from asking candidates about salary history—a measure intended to help end the pay discrepancies that women, minorities, and other classes face. Here’s what to know about the pay equity laws that have gone into effect in 2020. 

  • July 23 With COVID-related disruptions likely to continue indefinitely, few unemployed individuals have the option of waiting for a better job market. What should job-seekers keep in mind? 
  • July 22 Hiring has become a significant challenge for many employers, in part due to higher-than-usual unemployment payments. Here’s how employers can not only find candidates but also fast-track their hiring processes during the pandemic. 
  • July 21

    While COVID-19 has held the attention of most employers, hiring-related laws and ordinances have continued to pass the legislature or go into effect. Here are the latest developments in ban the box legislation.

  • July 16 With the Georgia legislature's recent approval of a new Second Chance bill, nonviolent felons may soon have more opportunities. The state joins a growing list of areas offering greater access to expungement.
  • July 15 As the United States regains lost jobs, many businesses are unfreezing their hiring. Here’s why employee background checks are even more critical at this stage than they were before COVID-19.
  • July 14

    60 percent of colleges and universities want to resume all in-person learning this fall, but professors are pushing back. Will the debate lead to a staffing shortage in the higher education sector?

  • July 09 While investments into the technology that employees use to perform daily work are essential, tools for HR matter immensely. Explore the difference that they can make.