Received Sunday, January 18, 2009
I'm a nanny in Philadelphia. I've worked for a family with two wonderful children for the past 6 months. The parents were fair and treated me very well up until this past week.
Here's the thing: I am staunchly pro-choice. My boss is not. I do not want to start a debate here. I am glad that we live in a country where we have the right to express our opinions. While I reserve the right to express mine, I know that my workplace is not the right place to do it and would never bring it up with the kids.
On Friday my boss invited me to join her at an anti-abortion protest on the 22nd, which is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. The kids were in the room. I declined, and when she pressed me for a reason I told her that I would be more comfortable talking about it elsewhere. Her response was that the children would be at the protest and they knew all about "baby killing." I explained that I did not agree with her on this issue and that I would not attend the protest. She immediately became upset, calling me a number of unsavory things. In front of her children. They did not seem surprised. I do not plan on returning to work for this woman, but I am incredulous that I have been treated this way by a woman who seemed so pleasant and respectful.
Here is my question, and I think it applies to many different issues, not just this one:
Is it appropriate to bring up these sort of things in an interview? I am not sure what my response would have been if, when we first met, the mom had said "We have very strong views about abortion and are looking for someone who shares them." No doubt I would have been slightly taken aback, but I would have appreciated the candor and it would have been better than having her scream at me in front of the kids. It also puts me in a weird situation when future employers ask me about this job.