Sunday, March 2, 2014

Full Disclosure: What Does This Mean?

We're reposting this article because it's as relevant as ever.

by Mary O'Connor

Full Disclosure: What does this mean? Why is it important?

I recently did a Google search on this term and found many definitions:
• The need in business transactions to tell the “whole truth” about any matter which the other party should know in deciding to buy or contract
• The requirement to disclose all relevant or material facts to a transaction
• The need in certain situations for both parties to tell the whole truth about all information relevant to the transaction
• The act of providing all material information about an article or property intended or proposed to be transferred, which may influence the decision making of the buyer.
While some of these definitions are geared to certain business transactions, the principle of full disclosure is
 extremely critical in hiring a nanny to care for your children. At Nannies from the Heartland, we have a policy of full disclosure when working with families and nannies.

This past year, we’ve had several experiences that concern me about the business practices of some other services when screening nannies and making referrals to families.
• One nanny came in to interview with our service and had worked as a nanny for two different families where her duties in both jobs involved transporting children. When we ran her driving record, we found four recent moving violations. Two of which were alcohol related - careless driving and implied consent. I seriously doubt that the families using this nanny’s services through an agency they had paid to screen her were aware of this driving record.
• Another nanny was very upset that we would not represent her and refer her to client families. Although she had some previous nanny experience, she had an eight month gap in her employment history which she explained was due to working with a family that was “not a good employer” so she didn’t want them contacted for a reference. When I explained that we couldn’t consider her as a candidate if she didn’t provide a complete employment history with contact information, her response was that several other nanny services locally were accepting her as a candidate. They had told her not list this employer and/or alter her dates of employment so there was no gap. They apparently took at face value what she told them about the employment situation. Eventually, she reluctantly provided us with the name of this employer but said she had no contact information for them. What she didn’t know, is that this family had since become one of our clients and I knew they had terminated a previous nanny. When I contacted them, they explained this was the same person they’d terminated and for some serious infractions. I’d be very surprised if any family would consider hiring this person if the agency had done their due diligence, learned what I had and then disclosed this to the family.

We would not have considered referring either of these nannies to our client families. However, there are occasions where the nanny has excellent credentials and good references with perhaps one exception. I feel confident referring the nanny but would never consider concealing this reference’s comments. It may hurt her chances of getting a job and I know we may lose out on a placement, but our commitment to full disclosure is important to us.

Not only can families rest assured that we provide complete information on the nanny, but nannies can be confident that we are working with their best interest at heart. Full disclosure to nannies can be illustrated in several ways.
• Sharing with the nanny candidate anything we know about the family employment history that would impact placement consideration.
• Providing complete details about the position expectations and duties, hours and benefits offered by the family prior to interviewing with the family.
• Being assured that we work with families who agree to pay legally and provide appropriate compensation.
We’ve hear stories from nannies working with other services that concern us deeply. Agencies providing sketchy descriptions of the family, misrepresenting job details or appearing to give the “ok” for the family to pay under-the-table, are just some of the experiences nannies have shared. Telling the nanny one thing and the families another only leads to frustration, confusion and a waste of everyone's time during the interview process.

Nannies from the Heartland, is committed to providing complete information to both families and nannies so that the interview, selection and placement process is a positive experience for everyone. For more information please visit our website at

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