Jesse Jones: Gig companies say workers pass background checks, but do they?

When Ken Goldberg wanted his home cleaned, he contacted a company named Homeaglow.

On their website, Homeaglow says homeowners don’t have to be home when the cleaners are there. The company further states that its cleaning professionals “have passed a criminal background check and have been thoroughly reviewed.”

Goldberg said that their safety guarantee was the reason he signed up with Homeaglow.

“The only reason I hired this company is because they told me that,” he said. “Had I not read that, they wouldn’t have been hired by me. End of story.”

But a check of Goldberg’s cleaner by private investigator Andy Holmes, CEO of Holmes Risk Management, shows a wide history of violent criminal activity.

“The Washington State Patrol’s watch report, an $11 report, would have shown that that person has nine felonies and three gross misdemeanors in the last three years,” said Holmes.

He said the State Patrol Report shows the worker with assault, weapon, and theft convictions.

Holmes is not surprised by the results for one reason, “a background check is not truly a criminal background check.”

A background check also includes not only criminal and civil records but also education and employment history.

A criminal check must go deep for it to be effective. However, there are differing legal limits across the country on how far a business can look into a person’s criminal history.

Holmes said federally, you can’t go back more than seven years. Some of the local municipalities have written in their city laws that you can’t go back more than three years.

Washington law allows employers to look back 10 years for criminal convictions.

Goldberg’s cleaner had a conviction for firearm possession in April 2023. Holmes showed us a letter he received from Homeaglow confirming the worker was with the company six months later, corresponding with when he cleaned Goldberg’s home.

Holmes said their ads don’t match reality.

“I’ll tell you that if anything, they’re giving people a false sense of security that opens them up to be a potential victim,” he said.

Homeaglow does have a theft and damage policy. But its exclusions include losses of cash, jewelry, collectible coins, stamps, third-party gift cards, and pets.

“It could not be an easier program for criminals to set up,” Goldberg said.

The private investigator and our team have been asking the company about this person for more than a month.

When we asked to verify the felon’s status nine days ago Homeaglow responded that he “is an independent contractor of Homeaglow…” 

“It’s like the Disneyland for criminals,” said Goldberg. “But there’s a disaster. There is a disaster coming. Someone’s going to get hurt. In my opinion.”

Washington State Patrol allows you to run a background check on an individual if you have their full name and date of birth. It will cost you $11 but provides you peace of mind that many gig companies cannot.

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