Severance or No Severance?

Received Wednesday, March 5, 2008- Perspective & Opinion
Please help with an issue my wife and I don't see eye to eye on. Two months ago, we hired a nanny through an agency. The "replace for free" period has expired, largely in part due to my wife's desire to give the nanny a second chance to prove herself. I have convinced my wife that she must be fired immediately, (this evening, Wednesday). Over the course of the past eight weeks, the nanny has left our house in a fifth, (she isn't required to clean, only clean up after herself), she has brought ants into the house (in the winter because she dribbles juice all over the place and never wipes the counter down), she drinks 10-12 cans of coke per day in front of our children, despite the fact we have asked her to keep it in her own area, she has broken furniture, (an antique sitting chair), she has crashed in to the garage with the family car, she has driven from our town, (outside NYC) to NYC and back with the emergency brake on causing the brake to need to be replaced, she has used with reckless delight a sort of street language one could only find in the wee hours of the night in dastardly music videos. My six year old son who spent three years in speech therapy has picked up an unfortunate number of these street phrases. I have not liked this individual from day four, on which she "called out" from the intercom in her bedroom. She informed my wife that she was experiencing "severe menstrual cramps" and needed to take a tramadol (?) and return to sleep. I only learned of this later that morning when my wife was working from home while new nanny slept. I don't feel we should have to provide this nanny any sort of severance pay. She has already caused us countless expense, not to mention the nanny fee, (unless we continue to use the nanny agency that placed her here, a nanny agency that is as corrupt and lowly as any organization I have ever encountered. An agency that provided us inaccurate and flat out false information and was of no assistance to us when my wife called, kindly asking for their assistance to deal with some of the earlier issues that came up.)
My vote is no severance. My wife says we must give her two weeks. What say you, the mothers of ISYN?


Anonymous said...

Does she have her own residence? If so, fire her tonight, pay her for the rest of the week and get back your keys. Tell her that it isn't working out because of her carelessness (which has cost you $ already) and her foul language.

Father of Derelict Nanny said...

She is a M-F live-in nanny. She comes from Poughkeepsie, which is less than 1/2 hour away and where all of her family lives. In short, she won't be homeless.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you're wife is very generous! I think he's suggesting she's a live-in? If so, get her out asap. I hope there are no rules with regard to tenant/landlord, and you don't have to give notice because technically she IS an employee.
Kick her out, and if you want to be a saint, give her a weeks pay ... just to placate your sweet wife.

maggie's mommy said...

You already know the answer in your heart. You owe this woman nothing. You owe the agency a phone call to the Better Business Bureau. If you have a nanny agreement (which I hope you do), it should sketch out what the appropriate guidelines are to dismiss her. Your child's safety and well being is most important. If it takes a weeks salary to get her out of your home - and life - I would imagine it is well worth it.

Anonymous said...

... not to mention it may keep this nanny from harassing them because she may feel entitled to it.
You need some peace of mind, Dad ... just do it and be rid of her.

cali mom said...

"a sort of street language one could only find in the wee hours of the night in dastardly music videos." The problem is not funny at all but I love the way you've desctibed it.

She needs to go, the remainder of her week's pay is all I'd give her as severance (it's more than she'd get from most corporate jobs), and I'd look into legal action from the agency, AT LEAST as far as getting back your placement fee.

Miserly Bastard said...

No severance, no notice, change the locks.

cali mom said...

Oops, I meant *against* the agency.

Anonymous said...

"she has used with reckless delight a sort of street language one could only find in the wee hours of the night in dastardly music videos."

Daddio, I LOVE a well turned phrase! This is hilarious (although probably far less so to you when filth is coming from the mouth of your precious little child.)
Why would your wife have given her so many chances in the first place? She lives in your house and you need to have somebody you are absolutely comfortable with.
How about a compromise? Give her a few hundred dollars and show her the door. You don't want an angry guttermouth with relatives who live nearby having any sort of grudge against you. I would want the peace of mind of having sent her on her way with a little cash if I were you, just so you're not looking over your shoulder.

Anonymous said...

I do like your style! Yours posted while I was writing (as happened earlier on another thread a little while ago!)We definitely do think alike, right down to the "less than a week's salary" idea!

Your friend at 2:09

Anonymous said...

Severance is not given if nanny quits and no severance if firing for cause. And you definitely have cause. Make it clear that you are FIRING (not laying off or letting go) her so that you will not be responsible if she files for unemployment.

Anonymous said...

She sounds like an idiot, not ignorant, an idiot. Who knows what else she does around your kids. I'm a nanny and I say PLS for the safety of your kids fire this nanny asap before her lack of common knowledge harms your children. She's a slob... 10 sodas a day! And i give my husband grief for drinking 2 coke zeros! Speaks a slang? Is that the type of person you want around your kids to prov\ide an educational experience? You wear the pants fire her. Don't compensate her either. Or say rather I'd like to compensate you but you have caused so much damage .. and show her the bills that she can pick. Severance or pay the damage without knowing the total.

You need to override your wife on this one

Anonymous said...

As a former nanny (who would NEVER act like this!), I would say tell her she is fired and pay her through the end of the week. No "severence" nessesary in this line of work.

(now if she was a good nanny and your wife decided to quit and stay at home on a wim, that is different, that deserves severence, see the difference)

DDS said...

I'm no nurse, (but I boned one in the Alley behind Lucky Lanes) and I have to ask- why does she have tramdol in your house? Isn't that an opiate painkiller worse than Mathew perry's poison of choice?

And when I married my first wife, I married sweet and kind over hot and bitchy. For two years, I watched every tom, dick and helan walk all over her, borrow from her, ask for loans, encroach on her being and she was too happy to do for others. Our marriage didn't last for other reasons that may or may not have had to do with some after bowling festivities, but I feel for you man. I do. I loved that woman, I did and it must be hard to watch someone give people who dont deserve it chances.

In case you're wondering, second time around I married hot and bitchy. And boy do I miss me some niceness.

Anonymous said...

Tramadol (Ultracet/Ultram, same thing), is non-narcotic ... but it's effects are the same as Morphine.
I know, I've taken it.

It's some hardcore stuff, and the side effects are insane! ... that's why I stopped taking it.

You should get nanny out just for this ... how can she take care of your kids? .... and she takes it for CRAMPS??

chick said...

Write up a letter explaining that she is being fired for cause, and list the causes. Then copy the letter,get all the copies notarized, and give it to her tonight.

Send the agency a letter explaining your plan to file a complaint with BBB and explore legal action, and include a copy of the nanny firing letter.

(Although, frankly, I can't see any way for you to get compensation after keeping the walking human disaster area in your employ as long as you did.)

IF you really feel you must do something, pay her for this week, and show her the door. I would personally pay her for the days she worked, and tell her to get the heck out.

P.S. I'm a nanny. The being in your employ is not. Best of luck in your search for an ACTUAL nanny!

Sue said...

Based on what you're saying I'd say no severance.


Based on the fact that this woman (albeit a terrible match for your family) has bills to pay and likely lives paycheck to paycheck the right thing to do is to ease the way for another human being when we can.

So, yeah, it's the right thing to do.

I'm guessing you won't be writing her a letter of recommendation?

Anonymous said...

lol ... I'm thinking .... no!

Good luck, dad!

aliana said...

she is not professional and you need to fire her at once, she does not deserve the job, please replace her now for the sake of your children.

Anonymous said...

Aww, you miss that special touch stroking your ego?
Cute post!

Anonymous said...

I also would be concerned about my wifes attitude. It appears she thinks this persons behavior is ok? Maybe you need some parenting classes?

Anonymous said...

no severance -- buh bye, bad nanny!

Sarah and Mitch said...

Can you compromise and do one week of severence along with immediate termination? I would go so far as to just pay her for the rest of this week as well as whatever you owe her for hours/days worked. And have that be that. She doesn't sound dangerous perse, but definitely not the type of role model most want for their children.

Also, give her the exact reasons when you "fire" her (don't let her go/lay her off) so that she isn't completely unaware to the problems she has caused. Be factual, not emotional, and as adult and composed as possible. And have that be that.

Lastly, she is live in, so you will need to arrange a time for her to return to pick up her things, or a set date for her to move out. Give her fair notice... she may have family, but that doesn't mean it's a place she has to stay. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

so what happened dad???

Employer of former Derelict Nanny said...

We let the nanny go yesterday, not Wednesday because the nanny helped our 3 year old make a card for the greatest mommy ever and my wife just couldn't fire her that day.

I returned home early yesterday at a time when the children were not around and I terminated her. I told her it was not a good fit and I gave her two weeks severence. It isn't that I didn't appreciate all your great advice, I just happen to have a wife who "lets her kind heart rule". Her motto, not mine.

That's my update.

atlnanny said...

I'm glad you let her go -- that was the important part. While I certainly do no think she DESERVED any severance pay, I think you did the kind thing by providing it. You were the bigger person, and that is a wonderful example for your children. Congrats.

Anonymous said...

what was her reaction?

§mpp§ said...

Great question, 9:59. I hope he posts back to answer it ... that would be a nice treat!

Good for you and your Wife. She seems like a lovely person.
I hope your next Nanny is 10x better!

Cherri said...

I am a nanny and i'd say: follow your instcnt and fired the nanny. if money isn't too much of the issue, just pay her for the time she has already invested in your children. List all the demages that she brought into her living quarter and since she is only being with you for a short time, list all the time off she has taken and damages she has done to your car, repair and such and give her a chance to settle this issue on the side. If she can't agree on the terms, bring her to court and also inform the nanny agency that they need to take action in this applicant and recover your lost

Anonymous said...

are you people SERIOUS?!? yes, this nanny is clearly not a wonderful childcare giver. but the fact that you all are reacting like she was beating the children is ridiculous. i have had two bad nanny experiences (nannies who were lazy/unreliable/a bad fit) and i have let them go. i agree, severance is not needed. but reading your reactions is bulls**t. "dastardly music videos"? is this 1946 for godssakes? severe menstrual cramps is a legit reason to miss a day of work. the fact that she divulged that she was taking medication is irrelevant. it's not as if she showed up to work drugged up, she was responsible and called in sick.

i do realize that it is necessary to fire this nanny. my point is, with all of the AWFUL stories we hear (especially on this site) this is relatively minor- a sub-par nanny who needs to be let go. she is a poor fit for your family, no severance needed. but get off your moral high horse. left the parking brake on!?!? you think she did this on purpose?

fire her, move on with your life. but also stop being a judgemental prick.

Anonymous said...

being a "bad fit" is not a reason to break contractual sev. or pay when notice is not given until end date.

Anonymous said...


"it's not as if she showed up to work drugged up, she was responsible and called in sick."

Yo, dumbass - she was a live-in!pay fucking attention!
And stop going around on other threads inciting riot! start your own blog for that shit.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Employer of former Derelict Nanny said...

The nanny's reaction was stunned silence as I explained what was going on. I gave her her check and gave her time, which not to be a dick, but I gave her a 1/2 hour to gather her things. I called a car to take her to Poughkeepsie because I did not wish for her to wait around cooridnating her pick up. By the time she returned downstairs with her bags, she was a bit angry. She said to me, "Um, a little help" with an attitude and gestured to a box she was carrying. I asked the driver to come in and help her with her last "load". She went back in two times to double check for things each time muttering things under her breath. When she reached the door the last time, I asked for her keys, (a formality since naturally the locks will be changed) and she made what I am sure she imagined a witty remark about the sort of man/husband I am. I said, "Good bye, ______" and shut the door and locked it. Thursday and Friday night between 1-3 in the morning, we received a handful of hang up calls from unavailable numbers. I am sure this is just a coincidence. Wink, wink.

This is one of the problems I think people encounter when they try and take the high road when firing a nanny. She isn't a good childcare provider, she was absent minded, forgetful, disorganized and a bad example. She was reckless, wasteful and not the brightest gal around. If she was extraordinary in any way perhaps I could have excused this or that, but let their be no doubt- she was an awful nanny.

Had I fired her my way, she would have went out with her tail behind her legs wondering when the lawsuit was going to drop.

My wife constantly reminds me of the joy that comes with being the bigger person or doing the nice thing.

I found no such joy.

Anonymous said...

Wow ... your nanny sounds like one of the park bench nannies only because there was a post about a wk. or so ago about another family that fired theirs and have received nothing short of harassment since she left.

If the phone calls and such keep up, stop being the nice guy and take action ... you did the right thing. Whether you feel good about it or not, I bet you that your wife is very proud of you ... that's gotta count for something, right?

Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

You hired this woman through an agency, but did you actually speak to her references, or did you just depend on the agency to send someone suitable?
I don't mean this as criticism, but it is important for parents to realize, an agency can save you time in initially finding candidates, and doing background checks, but you must still interview and check references thoroughly!
It is hard to believe a previous employer told you what a wonderful nanny this woman was.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I don't know how many Nannies OP has had, but I'm sure they've learned a lot this time around and hopefully the next one will be stellar.

Thank you for posting back with the Nannies reaction - you were the perfect ISYN contributor!

Best of luck to you & your Family!

cali mom said...

IMO, teaching young children to use foul language and crashing a car into a garage does not make a nanny "a bad fit". It makes her incompetent, irresponsible and untrustworthy.

Anonymous said...

good for u other person. now change your numbers and lock asap. or even better do the same thing back to her cell the min u get the calls so she knows u know its her.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. Set your phone so it doesn't accept calls from callers with blocked ID. This eliminates a lot of unwanted calls.

Anonymous said...

OP, One day you will.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you stood your ground..
Its not ok what all she did to you and your family. It was stressful
and thoughtless from this nanny.
I am hoping you did write down
and give the nanny a copy of her
termination....It might come down
to her collecting unemployment
later on...and a paper trail helps
all involved...Your wife sounds
sweet..but you soo did the right
thing...and you can block unlisted

Anonymous said...

If she files for unemployment, they will contact the employer. If she was fired for cause, she can not collect.

Anonymous said...

This happened at my father's office once. he had a terrible,awful secretary who came in late, called in sick repeatedly, never did her work, and caused several other problems that I can't recall. He fired her, and then she had the nerve to apply for unemployment. He was so disgusted with her that he took his whole office staff to the hearing and had them testify as to her bad performance (she was contesting his claim that he had cause to fire her.)I went to watch. It was hilarious watching her face as the judge looked at her like she was some kind of idiot and told her she deserved to be fired. She was very mad, as if she had any right to be.