I Don't Know Why, But I Just Want Her Gone!

Received Monday, January 26, 2009
Perspective & Opinion Advice needed from parents with a long history of hiring or maintaining nannies.

I recently replaced our nanny from Sweden with an American nanny. Our nanny from Sweden was a friend of the family. She came to stay and live with us for a year, was like family to us and did a good job. She wasn't super. I know super because I've had super before. If you've ever had super, you know not many compare.

The problem is the replacement. The replacement nanny has all the good references and experience. She is however, making my life miserable. She makes snide comments to other nannies and mothers that have gotten back to me. She makes comments that sound complimentary but are in actuality digs. I work about 60 hours a week. The nanny is also very sneaky. I cannot say for certain, but I just get the feeling that she snoops around. I have had petty change come up missing. Sure, I could be wrong, but all of this goes hand and hand with the feeling that I cannot trust this person.

When she moved in, she told me she hated the color yellow. Yellow was the color of the nanny's room. She seemed so great, I felt we were about to get another Super Nanny, so I allowed her to pick out some linens and towels from a home catalogue and I had our painter paint her room seafoam green. The paint has literally just dried.

I don't think I am a crazy person, but this nanny makes me so uneasy. Part of the reason is she does have experience and has worked for many people, including celebrities. She will make random comments, careful not using names, but clearly she says these things to remind me that she knows people.

Now that I know I want to get rid of her and have nothing to go on other than a negative, scratch that, an overwhelmingly negative feeling; what is the best way to extricate her from our home and our family. The children are very fond of her but are not attached. She has only been here two months.

I want her to go quietly. Can I have her sign a confidentiality agreement after the fact? My husband thinks they can only be signed pre employment.

She is a live-in and has no family around here. What is the minimum amount of severance we can give her? And what is the amount you would suggest for someone who has been with us 8 weeks and makes $800 per week.

Any advice you can give me would be very helpful. I don't trust this person. I don't know why, but I just want her gone.


nannypro said...
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International Mommy said...

You are obviously in a tough spot. There is no reason for you to continue employing a nanny you do not trust.

Did you sign a nanny contract/agreement with her? This would be the only legal issue you could come up against. If you stated in there severance or length of employment it could get sticky.

I recommend either giving her 2 weeks notice or immediate removal with 1 month severance. Depends on if you feel you can trust her for 2 more weeks.

It will be interesting to hear what others have to say about this. Letting a nanny go is a hard thing to do even if you don't like her anymore. Have you contacted any agencies to ask what they recommend for your situation?

nannypro said...

It is your family and house, if she's not working out approach it directly. She's a professional nanny, so treat her as such and give her notice and severance as you'd expect from any other profession, which ranges from two to eight weeks, and since she's a live-in the more notice you give her the better, so she can arrange moving out. There's no denying that nannying is a very personal profession and bec she's live-in it makes the case more so, but don't make it personal, as this is how it is sounding. At the end of the day she's your employee and it may not be working for her either, you'd expect notice from her if she chooses to cease working for you. Like any other job there is always a settling in period, and no matter how qualified she is and how wonderful her references are from amazing past employers, if it doesn't work out for whatever reasons, deal with it with professional courtesy so it doesn't come back to bite you. Consider her an employee like any other.

Re. confidentiality agreement, you should have had her sign it as part of her work agreement when she commenced. It won't be binding now when you're ending her employment. And if she's as snide as you've mentioned, she may have talked already...

Two Weeks said...

Of course you can do a confidentiality agreement now, but expect nanny to want substantial severance for agreeing to sign it since there is no upside for her (she won't be getting a good reference from you anyway).

Two weeks severance, no notice, but offer to also pay for a hotel for those two weeks to give her a chance to find housing, assuming you want her to move out right away.

Definitely end this relationship sooner than later. BTDT also and it *always* gets worse once you start having these nagging feelings.


alex said...

You need to trust your gut in this situation.

You can ask her to sign a confidentiality agreement but she isn't required to, I don't think. Maybe offer her a nice severance in exchange for her signing? But since she seems so sneaky, is she really going to follow it?

The only thing I don't know about is how much money she should be paid. She has only been with you two months but you seem like a nice family and you don't want to throw anyone out in the cold. So maybe help her find a place to live & pay the first months rent? That way she doesn't have to worry about the rent the first month while she finds another job. Or I liked another comment about paying for a hotel until she finds a place to live. With all of her experience that shouldn't be too hard.

Say goodbye said...

I would give her a week's pay, if even. She hasn't been with you very long at all, and honestly, trust needs to come very first. If you don't trust someone with your children, don't wait around for a more solid reason why not. Fire her immediately, give her a couple days to move out, and if you are feeling generous give her a week's severence. But because she is so new, you don't really have to. You can bring up the confidentiality agreement now and have her sign it. It sounds terrible, but I don't think it is in the end, if that's what is important to you (your family's privacy.)

Nanny in Cali said...

OP, I am a strong believer in following your gut and since your children are involved here, it is best to err on the side of caution with this one.
It may be a chemistry thing, but personally I don't think I could trust someone like her either. Since she is live-in, I do not know what the laws are regarding nannies. Do they have to legally be served with a 30-day notice like a regular tenant?
My advice to you is to do what you have to do to get rid of her, however try to keep everything amicable on both sides since it may take some time to get her out. If things get ugly, who knows what she may do since she has access to your home, etc.
Good Luck.

confidentiality agreement said...

I just wanted to give my opinion on the confidentiality agreement part. I am not a nanny but I work in a field where I am usually required to sign them. If I am not asked to sign while I am an employee, there is no way on earth I would sign one as I was being let go.

Swiss Nanny said...

OP, trust your gut instinct. Only you know what she is like in your home, and around your children. There are so many great nannies (like me! :) )out there that need to find jobs. You do not need to be stuck with a bad nanny!!! Good luck!! P.S. I like yellow ;)

minneapolis nanny is happy with her job, but... said...

800 per week AND she lives in!?
hell, I'LL replace her!

Anonymous said...
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Nanny Miranda said...

I will start by telling you that I am a nanny. My basic rule and it should be even more important to a family is that if you don't trust me then I should not be in your house. Why would you ever let someone around your children who you have bad feelings about and don't trust? Trust your gut and do the right thing for your children!!! I understand it is hard for some people to confront others but it is your job as a mother to trust your instincts and stand up to this girl!

Jacqui said...

See, I thought 800 a week sounded pretty low for a nanny who has worked for "celebrities" in the I mean, I'd GLADLY(!) take that salary, but I know nannies in North Jersey (nevermind NYC) who make that much simply working for wealthy families, not famous ones. Anyway, that's besides the point. I agree with everyone else. If your gut tells you not to trust her, then don't. Two weeks severance sounds fair to me and if you do plan on terminating her immediately, I'd also offer her a little more for a hotel, as Two Weeks suggested. Good luck, OP.

get a moniker said...

Anonymous said,

"I think the best way to approach this : tell your nanny that you dont feel very comfortable and you feel that its working out.
These are your kids and you're entitled to protect them.
ps: I'm a nanny as well and if a family wasn't comfortable w/ me or vice versa I'd appreciate being told sooner than later and I'd do the same as well.
When it comes to your children FOLLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS!

1:40 PM"

Philly Nanny said...

I agree that you might have a hard time getting her to sign a confidentiality agreement.

The best way to encourage her to keep her mouth shut is to let her go nicely. Give her 2-3 weeks severance. Make sure she has some where to live until she finds a new job. Don't bring up stuff like the missing change. You should be honest, but if you mention small things like that she might feel the need to defend herself and it could get ugly.

It sounds as though you were very accommodating at the beginning of her employment. If she is treated well at the end too, she will be less likely to air your dirty laundry.

ericsmom said...

If shes talking behind your back now to other nannies, she will when shes gone.

Nothing will change

chick said...

Ask her to sit down with you and your SO, and simply politely tell her that you feel your family is not a good fit for her. Offer her a brief letter of employment verification, pay the severance agreed to in your work agreement, and offer to pay for her to live in a suitable corporate appartment or long-term stay hotel for 2 - 4 weeks.

If you want to get her to sign a post-employment Confidentiality Agreement, you might want to ask her to do that in exchange for you paying for her living arrangements for a while.

Don't make it personal, don't let her work out her notice, just close the books on a bad experience and move on. You have the right to feel comfortable in your own home, and it sounds as if this nanny is making you terribly uncomfortable.

Please let us know how things go?

ladykej said...

To be put out of work only after 2 months will be tough on her. Offer severance only if she will sign a confidence agreement. I went nearly 6 months unemployed and I would've signed anything to have some cash to live on. I would also give her a good (not glowing ) reference. since this seems to be more of a personality clash thing, not that she harmed your children in anyway. Please, please, please do not use your first nanny is a gauge in hiring the next nanny, super may never come along again.

Anonymous said...
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jada said...

You are definitely in a tough spot, OP. I don't think I could leave a nanny I have trust issues with caring for my kids, like Nanny Miranda said.

To get a confidentiality agreement (or at least try to) I would ask her to sign it in order to get a severance from you. If she won't sign it, let her know you will cut it in 1/2.

NannyInCharge said...

I think sometimes a family and a nanny will just not fit right together. There doesn't have to be some big reason or even a bunch of little reasons. The chemistry, so to speak, just might not be there and I don't think you should employ someone who you just don't like. If you don't like her, she probably doesn't like your family very much either.

I don't however, get why you brought up the room painting? Why exactly did you bring that up?

I would give her 2 weeks notice and 1 weeks severance.

Also, why do you need a confidentiality agreement? What do you think she'll say to other people that you wouldn't want them to know? Just wanted to get the facts straight here :)

Nanny in Cali said...

Nanny in Charge, OP may have brought up the room painting as a red flag she may have gotten initially or to show us how she was trying to be a good employer up front. As a nanny, I personally would not complain about the wall color, even if it was a hideous color, up front. That stuff can be worked out later on.

nanny J said...

Excellent point, NIC. I wouldn't want to rock the boat that quick, either. Maybe after a settling in period of several weeks or even months, but certainly not within 3 weeks!

Blink! said...

That feeling in your gut? Go with it. Dump her if you do not trust her. Give her severance and be glad she is out of your life.

fox in socks said...

OP, there is no question you should fire this nanny as soon as you possibly can. Get rid of her. Your gut is always right. I'm sure it's just so much worse than your gut it telling you, even.

As for the confidentiality agreement, I have a couple of things to say. If you are NOT getting rid of her ASAP (and I would), then you could try telling her something like your husband's job has changed, or there will be certain changes upcoming in your personal life, and for these reasons you ask that she now sign this confidentiality agreement. See if she will sign. This is not such a big deal. I don't see why she would not sign if she were going to continue being your nanny, if you want her to sign.

If you are getting rid of her ASAP, like tomorrow, just tell her that you need her to sign this confidentiality agreement, and if she does, she will get a certain amount of severance, a generous amount. You think up the amount that you feel is generous, that you will offer her in exchange for signing the agreement. Be firm with the amount, but try to think in advance of the amount that she will not want to let go over signing this agreement.

Finally, someone brought up the idea of giving a reference. There is no way you should send her off with a reference letter. This would be ridiculous since you are firing her for doing things she should not be doing (being sneaky, making comments, etc.).

Feel free to answer phone calls from her potential future employers if you like, but tell it like it is, that you let her go because she did not meet your most basic expectations.

Please come back on here and tell us what you did and how things went with this nanny!

fox in socks said...

A P.S. to my previous post, if it were me I would not give any severance to someone who I had to fire after 8 weeks who was in my view a terrible employee.

I think you should come up with your own number and only you can know what that would be, but I was thinking maybe $2ooo to offer in severance only if she signs the confidentiality agreement. I think this would be extremely generous, but more importantly it would be an amount she would hardly turn down, so would insure she signs it.

concernedmom said...

Go with your gut. Your children are THE MOST PRECIOUS people to you. No one weighs more than their value to you.

honest nanny said...

I also don't think you should give her a reference. Someone mentioned writing a verification of employment letter, but not a reference. If you wouldn't REFER her to a friend, why would you a stranger?

The idea of giving her notice seems a little crazy since you have no idea HOW she's going to respond to that and if you don't trust her now... But I do like what people are saying about giving her conditional severance based on a confidentiality agreement. And the hotel/housing funds would merely be an "extra" bonus, but not necessary.

Sorry you have to go through this! I hate nanny's who create a mis-trusting relationship with employers - gives us all a bad reputation.

PinkNanny said...

Sounds like your personalities just don't mesh well. She sounds like a snob with bad taste (seafoam green?!) and you sound hardworking and maybe a little picky too?

You really could just let her go - it's up to you if you want to pay her but I would think two weeks pay is good. $800 per week is a lot of money. Sorry I don't know about the confidentiality thing.

11:40 commenter... adding said...

I responded earlier (11:40am) and after reading some of the comments I wanted to add my 2 cents on something. Some people are suggesting you offer her money for signing the confidentiality agreement... I think that is seriously asking for trouble. To me it sounds like a desperate bribe, and while she may not even be interested now in your family's personal stuff, it might light a fire if she does hold any grudges. I would accept that she has probably already told anything worth telling (if anything at all), and that even if she were to sign something now, she could always claim that she talked before she signed it. I doubt she will be telling other people much anyways, and if she does, what could she possibly learn in 8 weeks that is so secretive. Learn your lesson from this, and just make sure to have one up front next time.

Put yourself in her shoes for this- what are the circumstances for her if/when you fire her. SHOULD she have severence? What did you agree upon in your nanny contract? Be the better person, but at the same time, understand that she has only worked for you for 2 months and don't let her take advantage of your family, whether you can afford to or not. Send her with a written verification of employment (so and so worked for me from ___ to ___), keeping it simple and unbiased.

Again though, if you think something is off, don't even let her work another 5 minutes. Good luck! Please keep us posted!

confused said...

I didn't have time to read all the comments but I am just curious why a family would want a confidentiality agreement. Why would anyone care what goes on in your house hold? Are you a celebrity? I'm not being coy I just don't get it. If I had a nanny what could she tell the world? My dog's name? The name and age of my kids? What are you worried about? (without giving away your secret lol)

NJ NANNY said...


I agree with a lot of the other folks who commented. Go with your gut, and if you don't trust her, the quicker you remove her from your home the better. Just be nice about it. If she don't have family around, you can take part in helping her find a place to live or perhaps doing what someone else suggested and paying for a couple weeks stay for her in a hotel until she finds something. The nanny market is dry right now. More nannies looking for families than families looking for nannies. Nonetheless, take care in the way you let her go if you have a gut wrenching feeling of not trusting her. You don't have to be super nice though. She was not with you that long.

Janet English said...

This is pretty simple OP. Have her sign a confidentiality agreement- she can't say no.

Then fire her 2 days later.

Ask your attorney friends or town council (what ever you call them) how long she has housing rights- every place is dif.

If it is 30 days- tell her she can stay until x-date but only if she works. If she chooses to leave- its her business. After her time there give her a weeks severence or whatever your contract states.

cali mom said...

Confused, I get what you're saying. As far as I know, a confidentiality agreement would only cover disclosure of certain facts. Not be a gag order prohibiting a person from expressing negative opinions (ie, my {ex}boss is SUCH a raving bitch!). Nor would it likely cover totally mundane, general family or parenting matters (ie, my {ex}boss is such an idiot f-ing bitch she doesn't even believe in giving time outs to the kids for bad behavior). I don't know, I could be wrong on this but unless you have a case against someone for actual slander, I'm not sure you can regulate how they talk about their job or their employers in general.

She does sound like a sneaky, snotty bitch who should NOT stay in the job of caring for OP's children. but unless there is some particular sensational info, big enough to cause scandal, or major financial details she could misuse, this just seems like a red herring.

Maybe the simplest plan would just be to say that you are experiencing some financial strain (as is virtually everyone right now!), and can no longer afford her services. If she begs to keep the job, offer a ridicuous pay cut that you KNOW she wouldn't accept, and that way, you aren't firing her, she's quitting. Unless your contract with her states a particular length of employment that you are guaranteeing her, I don't see how she could have any legal recourse.

Sarah said...

I think there's a lot more to this story than OP has stated. Think about it, why would anyway be that worried about a confidentiality agreement? What could have gone on that she would be that concerned about keeping private?

fox in socks said...

So OP, WHAT HAPPENED? Did you fire her, or what? We are all waiting to hear. Thanks.

formernanny said...

I have in the past signed a separation agreement. This in addition to the confidentiality agreement signed before I began working. I'm sure you could still have her sign one when you let her go.

This may be a situation where you want to let her go without notice. Perhaps on a Friday let her know she has the weekend to clear her room and remove herself from your residence. Give her the separation agreement after you let her know she is no longer needed. You don't need to give her a reason as she is an at will employee.

The separation agreement should state that everything she has witnessed/heard/etc/etc while employed is confidential and not to be disclosed/etc/etc. Receiving her severance is conditional of her signing the document and legal charges will be brought against her should she break the agreement.

As I said, give it to her on Friday when you tell her and give her a certain amount of time to return it (there may be a legal limit). She will then receive her severance check at her forwarding address.

You could provide her with a room at a hotel for a few days if you feel so kind.

As far as severance, she's only been employed for two months. Unless something was agreed when hiring, I would offer her two weeks pay and that's all. If you agreed to relocation expenses that as well.

In the end you don't want her in your home. YOUR HOME! You should not feel uncomfortable in your own home. She's an employee, nothing more, nothing less.

Send her on her merry way!

Still Confused said...

Can someone please explain to me what confidential information their employers were afraid would be disclosed???

Swanna Lake said...

Still confused,
No. Duh. If she would tell you that, why not let the nanny run freely and gab about.

In these situations, you need to set your nanny up. Like plant drugs on her or catch her naked with an Alpaca and then use that to keep her silence. Trust me, it's the only way.

These nannies like to gab. Worse yet, many like to write stories. So cutting out their tongues won't work. :(

honest nanny said...

Swanna Lake, YOU CRACK ME UP!

plant stuff on the nanny? lol

i'm so completely naive about these nanny gabs! i'm in a large metro area and i know there are lots of other nannies around, but i guess i just keep to myself. craziness all this talk about a confidentiality agreement... its not like i memorized their S.S. #s!

Steven said...

You repainted the room because she didn't like the color? Aside from the fact that I love yellow walls, I would never need such a thing. Where do I get an employer like you?

That said, here is my humble opinion:

1. Give her two weeks severance, three if uncomfortable, but no more. She's too new. You've been too generous as is.

2. Don't go into the change matter or anything akin to it, or the snide comments. Discussing them won't change anything.

3. Don't bother with the confidentiality agreement. One, she doesn't sound like she's the sort who would honor one and two, do you really want the hassle of trying to enforce it?

* Of course, I'll admit I don't see the use of a confidentiality agreement to begin with and would never sign one. On the other hand, anyone who knows me would know they would never need me to. Why is this so important to you?

nurse rachet said...

Great comments, steven!

Amy said...

It kills me how nannies like this just seem to get job after job..and this is the way they act? I have been looking for a job since May and have not been able to find one..and I'm a certified teacher...