Friday

Hands on Daddy

Received Friday, February 13, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I have been working for the same family for nearly 3 years. We've had a few minor things come up but nothing major, until now. Dad has been unemployed for several months now and has been home collecting unemployment while he's in his office looking for work on his computer. My charge and I spend a lot of time out, 3 different playgroups a week, 2 storytimes a week, my "little one" has become quite the social butterfly.

Yesterday we got home and I began to make our lunch, apparently Dad got a phone call that he got a job and he has to leave tomorrow to go over the fine print, Okay, whatever I thought. He grabbed a full bottle of wine out of the wine fridge and a glass and headed back to his office. After I cleaned up our lunch my charge and I went to watch the only 30 minutes of TV she gets on my watch, then it was nap time. I brought her into to Dad's office so she could kiss him, I changed her, we sang a nap time song and I put her down. I went into the playroom and began to tidy up. Dad comes out of his office flushed from the wine, and began to talk to me. Okay, no biggie. He thinks very highly of himself, I can tell just by the way he talks. He starts to come in closer and closer to me and I being to back up, I am very "OCD" about my personal space with the exception of family and my charges. I was very uncomfortable and left the room. He followed me out into the kitchen where I was getting ready to run the dishwasher as I am leaning down to put the soap into the compartments he begins to "massage" my neck while jabbering on and on. I shut the door to the dishwasher and walk away. Now I am sitting down at the kitchen table cutting out hearts for me and the little one to decorate and color when she gets up. He is still babbling on, coming in closer and then began to touch my arm as he talked. He sits in the chair next to mine and puts his arm around my shoulders, I excuse myself and went to the bathroom. He went back to his office, thank God! Now I can hear him on the phone bending someone elses ear, I finish the playroom and the hearts then out he comes out of his office again. He tosses the empty bottle, takes my hand, looks me in the eyes and tells me how much he appreciates what I do for his family, and then he says he's going to take a nap. My charge wakes up and we begin our afternoon together.

Mom came home early to celebrate with her husband and he wakes up. I grab my stuff and leave feeling very shaken up by the Dad's behavior. Should I say something? Was it just the alcohol? I am confused. I don't dare tell my husband or he will demand I leave right away. What should I do?

37 comments:

Visitor said...

First of all, you need to tell him that he was making you uncomfortable (you should have said so at the time of the incident, sooner is always better), and you better get a sincere apology out of him. If he does it again, tell his wife.

honest nanny said...

THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE! you need to FIRMLY tell him this is unacceptable and if it happens again you will not only tell his wife, you will quit on the spot.

OP, you were in a very vulnerable position here because you had no "out." heaven forbid, what would have happened if it had gotten worse?

YOU HAVE RIGHTS! and your personal space is to be respected. it's possible it was just the alcohol, but even so that's just an excuse - not a valid reason.

be careful. be firm. stand up for yourself.

Nanny Taxi said...

Um...wow!

I think it was the combo of the wine (did he eat lunch with you guys?)and the happiness of finding a job. You should've told him right off the bat, but I can understand a fear of losing your job. If it happens again, tell the wife, if he thinks what he did was completely innocent he won't deny it. If he does deny it prepare for mom to take her husband's side over yours and be prepared to say good-bye.

worlds best nanny said...

Men! What are you going to do? They are pigs, booze or not. You don't need that, bust him!

midwest nanny said...

sounds like he was drunk. My fiance's room mate can ramble on and on when he's toasted. That's not an excuse . . but don't feel strange. Tell him it made you uncomfortable.

Alana said...

If you've been with this family for 3 years, and this is the first time any thing like this has happened, I would just let it go. I think you will just make the situation more awkward if you say anything.

Kaitlyn and Daniel said...

I think he was drunk and I can understand why he made you feel uncomfortable. I think you should talk to him about it (NOT MOM) and just let him know. Otherwise, if this doesn't occur again, I would let it go.

NannyInCharge said...

A bottle of wine and he can't control himself? I honestly don't know what I'd do.

Tell him straight up you are married and not interested. If it ever happens again, you quit and the wife finds out why.

I don't think he'd do it again knowing that.

alex said...

What he did was not right but I am going to say that I think it was probably the alcohol talking and not him. Has he ever been inappropriate before?

Especially since he did the "how much you mean to the family" I am thinking it was a drunk thing. In my experiences people always profess love when alcohol is involved, haha.

Chances are he may be feeling very uncomfortable if he remembers what he did, so it may be better to just drop it.

SitterSarah said...

I think that is unacceptable of the father. That being said, I probably would have acted as you did. I tend to be quite timid in situations such as that. I am not one to offend and I especially worry when it comes to my employers.
I do think, like everyone else, that it probably had a lot to do with the alcohol. However, I was in a similar situation once and I didn't say anything at first, and it escalated some. Nothing happened, but incidents like you mentioned, such as randomly touching me, happened a little too frequently for me.
I wound up talking to the mother since the couple was divorced and she made it a little better for me by adjusting my hours so I wouldn't see him. Obviously, in your case, this won't work. But maybe if he has a new job this won't be likely to happen.
Anyways, my point is you need to talk to someone, especially if it happens again. If this is not the first time he has made you uncomfortable, it should definitely happen soon.
Bottom Line-You are an employee and that constitutes sexual harrassment in a normal workplace, so it should be the same in your situation. You should never feel uncomfortable when left alone with your employer.

chgonanny said...

I can hold my liquor pretty well, and a bottle of wine can get me quite tipsy. I'm assuming it's the booze and the excitement of getting a job. It doesn't make it ok in the slightest, though.

I hate confrontation (and it sounds like you do, too) so I totally understand why you didn't say anything and why talking to either parent about this probably sounds like a bad idea. I say let it slide this time, but if he EVER hints at this behavior again, start out by talking about your husband. If that doesn't deter him, then say you're uncomfortable, and threaten to talk to his wife.

Baltimore Nanny said...

First off, if the father has been out of work, how come he wasn't spending time with his child?!?! I mean, I am sure you would have appreciated some paid time off, a day or two a week. I know he wasn't looking for and applying for jobs 24/7.

Second, you should have told the father at the time that he was making you incomfortable and he should either leave you alone or you were leaving.

If it happens again, definitely sit down with both Mom and Dad and tell them.

san franny said...

I agree with visitor and would add, after 3 years you know it was the alcohol and excitement about employment if he has never done this to you before. Not to excuse him, but some people are touchy feely, more so after alcohol, and when you didn't speak up, he probably didn't notice that you were misreading him. Some people on this board will go to general quarters on you, but again after 3 years you know the man better than we do.

Fish Nanny said...

Alana, obviously you are crazy and in denial. Sounds just like a mom who would blame all on the nanny and ndot the dad. OP please talk to dad and mom together. You should not be uncomfortable, that is border line workplace abuse... speak up or the blame will inevitably fall on you..

Lindsey said...

I agree,if this hasn't happen beforethenit seems he let the alcohol get the better of him. He was probably just happy about finally having a job. Let it slide.

Jacqui said...

Inexcusable regardless if it only happened once or a hundred times. That's just creepy and in any other working environment it would be considered sexual harrassment. I'm not suggesting you make a HUGE deal but you definitely need to make him aware of how uncomfortable he made you feel and that it won't be tolerated again. Ideally you should have stood your ground when it happened, but it's understable that it caught you off guard and backed you into a corner.

The posters suggesting you just LET IT SLIDE are failing to put it into perspective. When a creepy guy comes up to you in a bar and attempts to paw at you, you tell him to back off but you let it slide. When your employer, the father of your charges, gets drunk while his kids are napping and starts touching you and following you from room to room, you DON'T let it slide, no matter how drunk and excited he was.

Lindsey said...

Jaq- This is someone she knows, not some drunk in the bar. If she makes a bg deal of something that happen once (if thats thats the case) then she will only make thing difficult for herself. Sometimes its better to let it slide then make a big deal out of it. You have to choose the lesser of two evils.

A. She says something, and he gets offended, blames it all on her and from then on out gives her a difficult job.

B. She doesn't say anything, maybe feeld weird for a few days, and then everything goes back to normal.

Seems like an easy choice to me. If it happens again, or it has happen before then yes something should be said.

Its not like he grabbed her boobs or crotch.

Jacqui said...

....and that's how women in the workplace get taken advantage of. They let things like that go. No it wasn't her boobs or her crotch..so? Next are we going to blame OP for being too attractive for him to resist?n
So you suggest she be a lady and keep her mouth shut so she doesn't anger him? Lindsey, you just brought us back 100 years with that mentality. Oy.

Lindsey said...

Jaq, get real,I didn't condone it, I didn't say it was ok. Ijust said that if he doesn't want tomake things difficult for herself then to let it go. It is in no way her fault. Like I said before if this was a one time occurance then I am sure once he sobered up he felt pretty dumb and embarrassed. And yes I think where he touched does make a difference. Touching her arm or hand or neck is not like getting your ass grabbed.

Life isn't fair, sometimes you have to bite your tongue. Turn the other cheek. Although he is in the wrong we both know how the he aid she said goes, and this will only make her job life even more un-comfortable and stressful. And if she is attractive I am sure the Mom will blame it on her also.

As state above, its not about this being right or wrong. We know HE was in the WRONG, but he has to decide if this is really worth making a rukus about.

Jacqui said...

Lindsey, we're going to have to agree to disagree. There are many battles you can choose and situations that warrant biting your tongue but in my opinion, this isn't one of those times. As another commenter stated, this is how some forms of sexual harassment escalate into more. I'm not suggesting she string him up by his..well you know, but she does need to stand up for herself and let him know that his behavior made her VERY uncomfortable and that if it happens again she WILL find a new job. If that angers or embarrasses him, so be it. That's a part of life. You do something inappropriate, you suffer the consequences. There is no reason to pussy-foot around him. The air needs to be cleared if she wants to feel comfortable in their home again. He's not just some guy she knows. He's her boss.

Lindsey said...

I think you are right, we can agree to disagree. But I would stake my life on it that even though yes he is in the wrong, the wrath will only come down on her. So OP, my advice is this. If you are so uncomfortable you have to say something, then make sure you are ready to walk out or be fired.

NJFNanny said...

OK, I defintely think it was probably the wine...honestly I thought that story was hillarious!

I wouldn't mention anything, especially to your husband or wife..unless he does it again. If he does try this again, however, take his hand, give it a little a slap, and remind him that we are both married here and tell him to keep his hands to himself!

Good Luck!

hilarious? said...

NJFNanny, you are screwed up if you think that story was hilarious. You probably wouldn't think it was quite so hilarious if something like that happened to you.

Jacqui said...

NJFNanny is actually suggesting she flirt back with him. Give his hand a little slap? Should she then giggle and bat her eyelashes coyly?

happy nanny said...

again, THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!!!

let it slide? hell NO! I completely agree with everything Jacqui is saying. Does it need to be a BIG deal? no. but at the very least you need to say,

"I am very excited that you got a new job. however in the future I expect my personal space to be respected. you probably didn't mean anything by it, but it made me uncomfortable. if you did mean something by it I'm not interested and I'll hit the road if it happens again."

this will most likely make it awkward for a while, but um, if I'm not mistaken OP you already feel awkward...

nannyj said...

Have a talk with the dad. Express that you felt very uncomfortable. More than likely he will be embarassed, apologize, and it wont happen again. If not, speak with both parents and make it clear that you cannot tolerate that behavior in your work enviroment.

lonalona said...

"If you've been with this family for 3 years, and this is the first time any thing like this has happened, I would just let it go. I think you will just make the situation more awkward if you say anything"


I disagree! HE made the situation akward and you should not have to deal with that at work. Voice your opinion and make it clear that you dont want to be man handled.

all eyes said...

worlds best nanny: "Men! What are you going to do? They are pigs, booze or not. You don't need that, bust him!"

As a male nanny with a fierce belief in teetotalism I take considerable offense to this awful, sexist comment and would ask moderators to remove it.

As for OP's situation:
1. OP, you must understand immediately that this is a form of sexual harassment and is not alright. As another has said, it doesn't matter if it happens once or a hundred times. You should not let it slide, anyone advocating an opinion to the contrary is practicing wishful thinking.

2. You should setup a time to speak with both of your employers, at once. Recount the situation and keep your emotions, regardless of their reaction, bottled. Let as pray that this is as far as you need to go.

3. If an apology doesn't come quick, or they fire you, call a lawyer. Take him to court. You must do this, for your sake, the sake of anyone who may replace you and for the sake of the children - they cannot grow up thinking that such behavior is alright.

I wish you the best.

all eyes said...

* My comments were based on an assumed desire on your part to remain with the family. Were I you, and yes it happens to male nannies too, I'd already be gone.

Philly Nanny said...

HIS INTENTIONS DON'T MATTER. Don't ignore this. It obviously made you very uncomfortable and will continue to for a while. The family will notice--you've been with them for three years, and I'm sure regardless of how attentive or inattentive they seem, they are probably pretty good at reading your moods. He probably remembers what happened and may feel strange about it too. Not talking about it will just make it the elephant in the room, and the wife is sure to notice...

If you feel like this was a pretty isolated incident, just find a time when you can speak with him when the she's not around. You don't have to make it a huge thing. You can say something like "I sometimes get affectionate when I drink too, but I wanted to let you know that I was a little uncomfortable with the way you touched me the other afternoon. It's not a huge deal, but I just wanted to be clear so there's no weirdness."

Maybe find a friend (a male one?) and ask him how he think he'd respond if a nanny said something like that to him.

If the dad apologizes and seems genuinely embarrassed or upset, you can probably take it as reassurance that it was a mistake spurred on by the wine and he'll be sure to be careful about the way he interacts with you in the future.

cali mom said...

Hmm, I basically agree with what chgonanny said here. If nothing even remotely like this has happened in 3 years, it can almost be seen the same as someone being drunk and farting loudly at a dinner party. A whole bottle of wine AND a brand new job to an unemployed person are bound to have a major effect, and I'd bet that it WON'T happen again, and I'm just not sure that reminding him of his stupid mistake will create a better work situation for her.

All Eyes, hi. Grreat to have a male nanny's perspective on here. I hope you stick around!

nanny M said...

I agree this is unacceptable. We are to feel safe in our work environment. In my opinion he crossed those lines. I would talk to him and say if it ever happened again you will leave on the spot. Then leave. Some of the other posters had great ideas what to say.

all eyes said...

Thank you cali mom.

PinkNanny said...

Hey OP,

I guess I would have to say that whether or not you ever bring it up to your husband or do anything about it depends on how much it bothered you.

I personally am the type of person that has to tell my husband everything. But then, you're right, he would make me leave...or worse.

I guess I would wait and see if it happens again, and if it does, look for a new job.

Anonymous said...
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Speak up! said...

Gross! I would have been terrified if any boss have done that. But, here is the thing: I am 23, have been working as a nanny since I was 19 and one of my male bosses (who's married) drinks 2 to 3 beers as soon as he walks in the house but he NEVER tried to do anything. No touching, getting closer, nothing!
The alcohol jus gave your boss a "push". He probably doesn't have sex and thinks you are attractive. You should have told him that he was making you unconfortable right then.
Be careful, kiddo. If he ever does anything, he will say that you seduced him and now wants money.

(You need a moniker!)

wowwow said...

why is it you let him do so much before doing anything about it? you should have told the mother right when she came home. My husband has wine sometimes and never acts that way around other women. wow all i can say is wow.