Received Thursday, April 3, 2o08- Perspective & Opinion
We recently terminated our nanny. A quick explanation of why- part of her responsibility was to keep our two sons equipped with the clothing and supplies they need for school and their activities. We trusted her with a credit card and everything appeared fine. Our eight year old son let it slip this weekend that the nanny had bought herself a pair of athletic shoes when she took him to get some sporting equipment. As soon as he let it slip, he tried to back up over his words. When pressed he explained that she had told him not to tell us. We asked if she had ever done it before and he said yes, than no, and then I don't know. He just turned eight. I was 10 times more furious at her for compelling him to keep a secret than I was about the theft. We fired her by phone. My husband telephoned her and very firmly but gently told her her services were no longer necessary. Today, I received two phone calls from potential references. The nanny did send an email to me on Tuesday reminding me that I had encouraged her to help herself to anything she needed. (True, but I was referring more to trips to Whole Foods and Magnolia's.) In the email, the nanny also offered a heartfelt apology. So much so, I am over my anger towards her. Here is my quandary, because of what she did, again not specifically the theft but doing something so sneaky and stressing my child out over the fact that he was keeping and then let go her secret, I cannot be a reference for her. She said she has learned from this experience and loves working with children and cannot have a gap in her work history. Employers, how do I diplomatically handle reference calls? I don't want to ruin her ability to work again. She is young, (23 years). Advice?