I'm writing for some advice from other families/caregivers.
In May of this year, I entered into a new family (a single mother and her 4-year old son) as their nanny. From the beginning, the mother called me a "babysitter", and even though I would nicely correct her, it always bothered me. I've wondered about her respect for my position due to the fact that she doesn't use the word "nanny" or seem to understand the difference between the two. I worked three days a week, for ten-hour shifts, from May until now. I have never called off sick, even though I have been under the weather a few times (a flu that went around my area hit me twice, but I went to work and stayed as interactive but distanced from her child as I could, and she wouldn't LET me have the day off anyway.) I have been 10-15 minutes early every shift, and I have stayed after my shift ends to talk with his mother for a while or show her things we did during the day. I have cleaned her house and helped her pack for an upcoming move, as well as taken care of the child on days off when his father bailed on plans. I have been available at the last minute, I have taken care of him while he's sick, and I thought I was becoming a well-respected member of the family.
In late July, the mother found a house she wanted to buy and informed me that she was going to rent her condo. I immediately jumped at the opportunity, and we made a verbal agreement then that I would rent her place but pay in work. (Meaning, I'd work my three days a week and that would be my "rent payments", and I would never actually get cash/check from her again while I was involved in a lease with the condo.) She has written up three different leases and made the entire situation a nightmare since we agreed to it. I have had the move-in date pushed back 6 times, with my most current move-in date being the "second week of October." During this time, her son was supposed to start Kindergarten, but the school decided he was too young and asked her to wait another year. This was in September. I immediately started bringing over education materials, working on more academics than I had before, and trying to help his self-esteem after being "kicked out" of his first year of school. He has been an emotional wreck due to the upcoming move and the school problems, and I've been doing my absolute best to make sure he's okay. On top of this, I have been scrambling to put together the money to rent the condo, as well as shopping for furniture/groceries to make the place a home, and I pushed back my re-admittance into college until winter because I didn't want to start school and move in the same month. She knows all of these things, as we have become very close and I have been very open with the way I spend my days off.
Yesterday, she sent me a text in the afternoon, saying that she didn't need me today because the boy was going to spend the day with his grandmother. I responded and asked her what the occasion was, and to have a good day at work, and never heard back. Today, I received a text that asked me to call her after 5pm. When I did, I didn't get an answer so I left her a message saying that I got her text, was calling back, and hoping everything was okay. She then texted me, telling me that she has no money to pay for a house and her mortgage at the condo (which, technically, I would be paying for through child-care), that she couldn't afford a sitter, and that I wasn't needed anymore. Then, she said that her condo association didn't want a renter in her place, so I wasn't going to be allowed to move into the condo either. I know this is not the case, as I have spoken to her condo association and they already gave me the okay to rent it. So she's trying to get rid of me, very clearly. I took some offense, but I politely asked her when I could pick up the $220 for the four days I haven't received payment on yet. She responded that she wasn't sure, and she would "send me a check in the mail." The last paycheck I got from her, about two weeks ago, bounced at the bank and it took me three days to get repaid. So I'm not feeling very confident about her ability to send me a check, due to lack of money and sheer laziness. (She has also underpaid me twice, and once actually refused to pay me for a weekend day.) I have texted her multiple times saying I need an exact date and I need her to confirm what she owes me, and she finally responded hours later saying that she needs my social security number. I asked her why, and she said "For taxes, of course." I know she is being threatening at this point, trying to make me think that I'm going to have to give back money or something, but I'm just furious and feel very disrespected. I do not want to give her my social security number, I just want my payment for the last four days and honestly, I do need the money.
What should I do? Should I file a claim in court over this? Should I call the cops? The only problem with that is that she, my boss, IS a cop. She works for our county and is a well-respected member of the police force. I have saved her texts regarding this, so I have some proof over the situation, but I don't know what my next step is. Has anyone dealt with a boss that refused to pay/made receiving pay very difficult? Do any mothers feel justified in the idea that this woman wouldn't pay me? As far as I know, I have done nothing wrong/nothing to offend her. Her child loves me, her neighbours were all excited for me to move into the place, and I'm a very well-liked person. I've given 110% in this position and honestly thought I was becoming friends with the mother.
(Note: I'm 26-years old and I have been a nanny for four families over 8 years. I have maintained excellent relationships with each family and am frequently asked to come to parties, last-minute babysitting, or sent nice greetings for holidays/my birthday. They have all given me amazing references and, with the exception of this position, I have never been fired from any job ever, including retail. I honestly do not feel as though I have done something wrong and I do believe that she's having financial difficulties, but from the moment my position was terminated she has been extremely catty/childish and is making this very hard on me, not to mention how hard it'll be on the little boy when he realizes I'm not coming back.)
(Also: She did this to her last nanny, in a way. Her next-door neighbour was her nanny before me, and on a weekend she interviewed/hired me and fired the girl the morning of her next shift. I have had a very uncomfortable relationship with that one woman ever since. I don't know if money was withheld, but I know she felt blind-sided by being fired ten minutes before she was due to watch the child.)