Gig Economy Businesses Will Take Background Checks of On Demand Workers More Seriously in 2020

ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends
ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

“Gig economy” businesses that provide transportation, housing, repairs, delivery, and many other services on demand through software applications (“apps”) will take background checks of workers more seriously with ongoing monitoring and continuous screening in 2020, according to the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2020 compiled by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

The background checks of gig economy workers will be taken more seriously due to bad publicity from well publicized stories about consumers being harmed in the gig economy. In December of 2019, Uber – the most popular transportation network company (TNC) in the United States – released its Safety Report that revealed nearly 6,000 sexual assaults were reported during Uber rides from 2017 to 2018.

In September of 2019, Lyft – Uber’s main competitor that claims safety is a top priority – faced a lawsuit alleging the TNC received 100 sexual assault complaints over a two-year period. In November of 2019, Airbnb – an online marketplace for arranging or offering lodging – banned “party houses” and expanded screening in response to a deadly shooting at a party at an Airbnb rental on Halloween in California.

Also in September of 2019, a review of public records from Portland, Oregon, revealed 168 cases in the past five years where city inspectors suspended or revoked permits of drivers working for Uber and Lyft because of criminal or driving history. The 168 drivers – 78 who worked for Uber and 90 who worked for Lyft – should have been rejected during routine background checks but slipped through the cracks instead.

As a result, gig economy employers have taken background screening more seriously. In April of 2019, Lyft announced the adoption of continuous background checks to enhance the safety and security of their platform. Uber began using continuous background checks on drivers in the U.S. in July of 2018 in the wake of CNN investigation that that found more than 100 drivers were accused of sexual assault in four years.

A problem with the gig economy – also called the “trust economy” – where apps are used to connect consumers to on demand workers and services, is “trust,” according to the article “Why Consumers Cannot Trust the Trust Economy – The Inherent Conflict of Interest between Gig Economy Firms and their Customers and How to Fix It” written by noted background check expert Attorney Lester Rosen.

Rosen, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), explained stories of consumers harmed by gig economy workers show the need for background screening. “Given the negative fallout from such publicity to any firm in the trust marketplace space, it would seem that standardized and generally accepted background screening protocols would benefit both providers and consumers.”

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) also offers a complimentary white paper titled “Background Screening of Extended Workforce Necessary to Compete in Modern Economy” that explains why gig economy workers need screening. ESR also offers an On Demand and Extended Workforce Screening Solution featuring state of the art technology and integrations for gig economy businesses.

Since 2008, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) has selected influential and emerging background check trends that have impacted the background screening industry. Each trend for 2020 will be announced via the ESR News Blog and listed on the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” web page available at www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/ESR-Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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