Wednesday

Sexual Harassment?

Received Thursday, March 18, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYNIt seems like you are not posting as many nanny complaints as before, so let me make a point first. I have been a nanny for 3 years. For the first two and a half years, I worked for one family. We had a mutually respectful relationship, they backed me on child discipline, we worked as a team, they were generous and when they moved away I literally mourned the loss. I know that I made a difference in their life and the children's lives and they positively affected my life by the support and encouragement they provided me.

Because I had worked in a small town, many families knew me through school and activities with the children and the family. I never needed to reach back out through the agency because I had two job offers almost immediately. I chose the job with the children I knew the best and have already developed a great bond with them. The children are super and I have no complaints.

Here is the problem. I originally came out here through a nanny agency that specializes in Mormon nannies. I am Mormon and my faith is very important to me. I don't smoke, drink, swear or do a lot of going out. I spend a lot of my spare time working with the Church of volunteering with a pet shelter. My current employers knew all of this and this is one reason they wanted me, even offered me a fairly generous pay raise. The mother involved made specific comments regarding being tired of nannies who spent their days planning their nights, dressed like "whores" and got lost in urban culture. They are of a different faith but the children do go to Sunday school every Sunday and believe in the same principals.

The father in the house is pleasant to me most days, unless he is grumpy in which case he is a little abrasive, still I don't see him much. The mother works from her house three days a week. Five months ago, she worked in her city office all five days, so this in itself has been an adjustment. I don't dislike this woman, but I am fed up with some of her behaviors as directed to me. She seems to go out of her way to make sexual references, makes comments that mock my faith and tells me things like, 'you need to relax, go out and have a drink, have 10". The sexual comments are the worst. She says things like, "you know if you don't use that thing, it's going to shrivel up and die" (referring to my vagina). She says things like "you have a great rack, show it off. Why are you always wearing big sweatshirts". And it doesn't stop there. If there is a service person who arrives at the house or leaves, she will say despicable things like, "how'd he taste, he looks like a salty dog". She is always laughing. I know you will say, tell her that these comments are inappropriate. I have told her that such talk makes me uncomfortable. She has responded by saying "lighten up", or "smoke a joint, let loose". On Thursday of last week, the electrician showed up and brought a helped who was about my age. I was playing with a child and the mother said to the younger guy, "have you ever seen an ass like that? I swear it makes my eyes water". Gesturing to me. I might have been bending over, but I don't dress in an immodest fashion.

None of this has been encouraged by me, I don't find it at all amusing and it makes me especially angry because the things she razes me about are the very same things that caused her to think I would be the best nanny for her children. There are more comments I could use for an example, but it makes me sick just to recant these things. She also makes constant reference to masturbation and techniques and tells me I have to be doing something, everyone needs sex.

I am a live-in nanny. There are no other job that I know about. I hate that because of her behavior I have so much stress. But my question is this, do I have, as a household employee in NY State, any recourse? My second question is, whether I do have recourse or just seek to move on, I would like something else to back my story of why I am leaving. It would not be hard to get her on recorder saying some of the disgusting things that she says. There have also been witnesses to her behavior towards me. I'm miserable. I have two great days a week and the other three are causing me against anxiety.

50 comments:

kc said...

That is a really tough situation, OP. My only advice would be to tell you that if you are unable to get help and the harassment continues, to get out of there. And I do agree that that's sexual harassment and you absolutely shouldn't have to put up with it in your workplace.

Good luck!

Jacqui said...

Ugh. The mother sounds like a callous, obnoxious ass.
Get OUT of that situation. I think it would be pretty easy for someone like a lawyer to determine that it is indeed sexual harassment. It's completely inappropriate and you do not and should not have to deal with it.
I commend and respect your faith, morals and strong convictions and those things are even more of a reason for you to be proactive and get out of there. I know that's easier said than done, especially considering you're a live-in, but I'd start making the steps towards doing it sooner rather than later.

Good luck, OP.

SitterSarah said...

Did that other family ever find a nanny? If not, you may want to approach them and discuss perhaps being their nanny. Or maybe you can contact the agency again and let them know you're looking. Be sure, of course, to give good notice. If you are uncomfortable saying why you're leaving, just tell her that it's simply not the right fit.
You should not feel that uncomfortable in your job (and in your case, home).
It's horrible that she knows your feelings but blatantly disregards them. I'm sorry about those kids, especially because I'm sure you're attached. But I think you need to get out. Good Luck!

ummmm....ok said...

I totally know what you are going through. My previous position before this one was live-in and the mom made a number of incredibly inappropriate comments/suggestions regarding me and one of my best friends and even went as far to make comments about my boyfriend and I (since we are waiting until marriage for sex). It would make me very upset and when I would say it was sexual harrassment, she would just laugh and tell me that we are way past the employer/employee relationship, that we are more "house mates" now! It was ridiculous. I went to an agency, looked online, and found another job! Take it from me, do something proactive and get out of there now!

Village said...

I'd call the agency. Tell them what has happened, and get their help in getting you out. They will be glad to help because they will get a fee for placing you again.

Agencies earn their fees for various reasons. They may have even known this women was a sexual deviate from former nannies they placed, and could have saved you this heartache.

What is happening to you in illegal. You are being sexually harassed by a woman. Unusual, but it happens. You can tell her, "You may not speak to me like that." What's gonna happen? She fires you? Stand up for yourself. Do not give her permission to speak to you in that manner. It's not about your religion. It's about your civil rights. You've got them, and she is violating them.

let's get real said...

Definitely contact the agency. This is 100% harassment and you should not have to put up with it! This woman sounds like a creep and I doubt she is going to change. If you can, find another job pronto.

nannyneedsanap said...

If you quit, can I have your job? Your boss sounds like a lot of fun!

Anonymous said...
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xfileluv said...

Before you leave, you would be wise to keep a log of dates and comments in the event something legal comes about. You'll want to have notations of exactly what was said and when.

millows\ said...

this is fu*(&^% unbelievable. She is the worst employer I have EVER heard of. I would tell her to cut the crap or you will be gone the next day.

no sympathy said...

First of all, this seems fake. Second of all, shame on you for not ending this behavior. YOU treat OTHERS how you'd like to be treated. You need to grow up and stand up for yourself. I have no sympathy.

Nanny Taxi said...

I would definitely contact the agency. If it is an agency that places Mormon nannies they should be sympathetic towards your problem. They would also take the family off the list as acceptable families. I've never experienced your issues, and I am feel so bad for you. I once had a family as me why I never swear. I told them once their daughter got a little older they'd find out why. Sure enough! Good Luck.

DowntoEarth said...

Wow that is crass. I guyou need to find different employers and in a hurry. Thsi is sexual harassment and you should tape it .
It is a shame that she is acting this way. Has she always been like this??
Find a job and move on qquickly and sure her if it makes you feel better but you may have t4roble finding another nanny job if you sue her. Just get out and move on.

Anonymous said...
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HollywoodMommy said...

Everyone needs to READ. She said she found this job WITHOUT an agency. Although it might be helpful for you to contact the agency that you used previously as they may be able to provide you guidance in this situation. As well as help you find a new position.

bazooka joe said...

I think the nanny knows she needs a new job but feels trapped. I would definitely tape some of her behaviors. I have heard of wonderful nannies chosing to move on or leave the job because of the employer only to have their reputations trashed afterwards. No boss ever wants to admit they were wrong, esp when it is as personal as a nanny/employer relationship.

NY is a right to work state. Meaning, you can quit anytime you want. Suing an employer in NY is going to be tough.

Personally, I would start looking. I would use as many agencies as I could and explain your personal beliefs and that you are looking for a respectful employer/employee relationship. I would record the employer saying things or document specifics. After you find a new job, which I hope is soon, you should tell her something along the lines of, "I came here with the best intentions and I love your children. You have made me very uncomfortable with the sexual banter and when I requested that it cease, you seemed not to care. Because I was stressed about it, I spoke to some different people to get their advice. They wanted me to record you and document every instant that it happened. A lot of people had some great ideas and the best thing is that I move on from this position. I mean let her wonder if you did or didn't record her. Maybe that will affect your send off.

dumb dumb dum dumb said...

no sympathy,
come out from under your rock, put the bottle down and wake up. this seems fake? you want to know what seems fake? bernie madoff is alive, his wife esconced in the comfort of other people's stolen money, the bozos at AIG and their 400 K bonuses, an unwed mother with 6 children and no job uses invitro to have four more.

Should I go on?

sexual harassment said...

That is complete sexual harassment. If someone said that to you in any other workplace, such as an office, you would be advised to press charges. However, since you live in this woman's home, I would tell her that she is offending you and if it doesn't stop, begin looking for another live-in position BEFORE quitting.

Illegal said...

I agree with keeping a log of what your employer says, as someone above mentioned. I would, however, check with a lawyer before making any video or voice recordings. She is in her own home and has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Laws vary from state to state, but I would guess it is illegal for you to record her voice without permission. You are often permitted to gather evidence of criminal activity, but generally a warrant is required prior to doing this. The last thing you want is to find the situation turned backwards and you being turned into the bad guy. I would advocate the log, witnesses, and getting a new job asap.

Anonymous said...
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Offended by "Real" Mom! said...

WTF?

"Real" Mom, why in the world would you say something like that?? Are you the employer that the OP is writing about? What kind of person says that to another?? I can only imagine the horrible things you must say and/or do to your children!!

Still Offended said...

MPP,
Is there any way to delete Real Mom's comment about suicide? The more I think about it, the more upset I am by it. I'm not trying to cause a problem, but something like that is so incredibly inappropriate!

Nanny from Fargo said...

My gut instinct is that this is fake. Sounds like the beginning of an erotica novel.

HOWEVER... if its real, then yes, this is harassment. Talk with your employer about your feelings, and if she won't change her ways or tries to laugh you off, then see if that other family is hiring and move on. You could sue, or settle out of court even- tell her you'll not ruin her good name if she makes it worth your while ;)

Phoenix said...

This post seems a bit strange. It's almost like the mother is either jealous of you or isn trying to hit on you. I would just ignore her.


I need to tell the world.... I'm sorry I have to post this here but I am so excited. After 10 years of my doctors not knowing what was wrong with me I have been diagnosed finally!!!! I have IC there is no cure but I can now start treatments. Hurray for me!!!

Jane Doe said...

" A Real Mom" is neither a mom nor real at all. She is the pissed of nanny who submitted the anti child rant. You know the one? The one everyone was disgusted by, except for the OP herself who kept coming back to congratulate her own writing talent.

Any post by "A Real Mom" or any of her monikers will be deleted as soon as they are found. Please avoid responding to them or at all recognizing them.

This woman is incredibly unstable and needs mental help. It is frightening to consider that she works with children.

Offended said...

Thank you so much, Jane! I missed that little drama, so I appreciate the background. I appreciate that you and MPP so carefully monitor this board the way you do. Thanks so much for all your work!

ericsmom said...

Hi Phoenix

Sorry to hear you were sick. But what is IC?

Yaya said...

That is so inappropriate. I cannot believe she is saying stuff like that. just wrong. Not sure what to do, but start documenting in a journal dates/times and things she says. Might come in handy later.

try this said...

Anonymous said...

1. It is sexual harassment.
2. Contact a lawyer - the expense will be smaller than you imagine and will be well worth it.
3. Do NOT attempt to record.

a real mom said...
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a real mom said...
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Marypoppin'pills said...

I am right behind you deleting all of your Posts, you pathetic loser. None of them will stay up... you are wasting your time. How sad that you have no life.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I've enabled Comment Moderation... have all the fun you want now, Troll.

nannyP said...

Op get out of there, contact a lawyer. It sounds like the mom wants you!

does this moniker make my butt look big said...

wow, I cannot imagine what would posess an employer to talk to an employee that way short of being embarrassingly drunk. I know jobs are hard to find..but start looking and keep looking. No one deserves to be subjected to a situation that makes them so uncomfortable. You sound as if you have fabulous morals and values..those will carry you far. Best of luck OP!

toonces the cat who would drive said...

The troll really doesnt know what Jane meant by that comment.

Fucking Burn!

So, the troll aint that bright. IQ-92 or so.

dr lamar lamount said...

You assume incorrect about said troll. She is not insane in anyway, she's far too boring to have and distinguishing characteristics whatsoever. This is a person people don't remember. Visiting this blog is the most contact she has had with people in a long, long time. She clings to any interaction whatsover. She thinks she knows the posters intimately and probably knows each of their witty retorts or suggestions. This is a person who is lonely, and who has a heart that is yearned to be touched by anyone.

some thought said...

Toonces, if I had to guess, I'd guess the troll was telling the truth or we're under attack by two different trolls. Of course, if one troll is the rant girl, who is the other?

Now if the troll is telling the truth it would suggest that Lamar's assumption that she visits so often is wrong. Else, she'd know, yes?

Westy said...

My employer used to make gross comments too,
like when we were in the grocery store she would hold up a large cucumber and say like woah, I wish his was like this!! Right in front of the kids too. Weird.
Toonces, it is rude to say someone has a low IQ like that. IQ tests are just another number. I know someone who has a 98 IQ and goes to an IVY League college and had an SAT score of nearly 1600. So that is a baseless comparison.

Nanny Taxi said...

Crass mom! Is she the stipper on that was on here?
Get out. I couldn't be uncomfortable all the time.

street smart said...

Westy
An IQ of 98, but a 1600 on SAT? Sounds to me like your friend had a stand-in. For which test, I'm not sure though.

ohwhynot said...

Folks need to stop talking out of their asses. Legally, "sexual harassment" means that the employer is making certain statements or taking certain actions based on the employee's gender. Further, some sort of actionable "job action" (i.e., getting fired, not promoted, etc) must have occurred on the basis of gender.

This is not the case. The employer is a boor and an asshole, but she's not making these comments because the employee is a woman (although the nanny may have a religious discrimination case if she can prove the employer is acting the way she is because of the nanny's religion. Difficult to prove). She's making them because she is getting a rise out of the nanny and because she's a jerk who likes to bully people and make them uncomfortable. Jerkish, but probably not illegal.

OP, you don't have a legal cause of action, most likely, but you need to get out there. Soon. Best of luck to you.

ohwhynot said...

I should add: there is the "hostile work environment" type of sexual harassment, which this would be, if the OP had a case. But again, she'd have to prove that the employers was subjecting her to a hostile work environment that is so severe and so pervasive as to make working there intolerable. The courts have been VERY tough on this - mere jokes, teasing, etc., generally do NOT constitute actionable sexual harassment. The fact that the OP may be more sensitive than the average person to these types of comments wouldn't really help her case, unless she can prove that her religious objections are the reason her employer says what she says.

does this moniker make my butt look big said...

I have to agree that I don't get the vibe that the boss wants the OP. I think some people are just crass as well as of the mind that all single women should gravitate towards men in order to find a mate and thus the pushy "comments". I would not veiw this as sexual harassment but rather obnoxious and rude!She is obviously aggressive and has no tact! I still advise finding a new job asap!Goodluck OP.

Phoenix said...

IC is interstitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome. I have had problems for a long time. It feels like when you have a bladder infection. with the pain and urgency and dicomfort, but without the infection. It can't be treated with antibiotics and it is very life altering in every way. There is no cure but I can have treatments to help my symptoms. i have to eat a completely acid free, potassium free, and caffine free diet. I have to have pills 3 times a day and have medicine injected directly into my bladder. i will be fighting this for the rest of my life... but it had a name. It took a very long time fot the doctors to diagnose me, but now I know what i'm dealing with.

Jacqueline said...

Ohwhynot-

Sexual harrassment does not necessarily have anything to do with the persons gender. AT ALL. It is defined by law as "Any behavior of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and unwanted" which this is. Hands Down. I work in HR and run sexual harrassment trainings. I don't know where you get your information from but you are wrong. This employer is using sexual comments and inuendos to make her employee uncomfortable. That is sexual harrassment.

the nanny who hates cats said...

From reading the posts above,Sexual harrassment covers a very broad area. This womam has crossed an employer/employee boundry though regardless of weather or not it is sexual harrassment.
You need to find a new family to work for.Mom is not going to change. Goodluck.

worlds best nanny said...

Don't stoop to her level. Mormons must get angry sometimes,right? Tell her how you feel in no uncertain terms. Let Daddy know, I am sure he'd love to find out what a pig his wife is around other men.

kc said...
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Mich said...

I'd go to the bishop and tell him what's going on and ask if he can help you find a place to stay with someone in the church. Leave the family and quit asap! Then start the process of either charging her or whatever,but don't do anything while you still live there.