Catty Cop is Causing Chaos Over Condo

opinion 2 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.)


Sarah said...

The day she decided she wasn't going to pay you for that weekend day i would have walked. I had a situation kind of similar- single mom two boys and i was working m-f. She paid me just fine for the first couple weeks and then on a thursday informed me she wouldn't be paying me for friday but I was expected to come and work. No way in hell do I work 10 hours, clean your house and take care of two bratty pre-pubecent boys for free. So I walked, she wasn't happy about the 0 notice but neither was I lol. So my advice, you should have left long ago in retrospect.

As for now...I'd say if you need the money that badly, write a certified letter (she has to sign for it) informing her she is bring brought to civil court if she does not pay in X amount of days. If that doesn't scare her into paying bring her to court...I have no doubt you will win, But I think the letter will do the trick.

Bostonnanny said...

First off, never ever agree to rent a place verbally. Get a renters contract with the move in date, payment etc. Personally, i would never rent from an employer especially in exchange for childcare. Second, tell her to give you a w-2 form and you will fill it out. Remind her about her share of the taxes, ss, unemployment then tell her that she should get on top of that because she could lose her job as a cop for tax fraud. Finally, tell her if she refuses to pay you; you will take her to court and not only will she have to pay you what she owes but also any court fees.

Wow said...

There are so many what NOT to do's in this post I don't even know where to begin. I'm not trying to be mean, I promise, I'm trying to help you to see the bright red flags in this scenario. If you see them now, you will not have to experience anything like this again if you learn. Okay?

First, you know she doesn't respect you because she ignored your wishes to not be called a "babysitter."

Second, you know she doesn't care about you because she wouldn't "LET" you take off from work when you had the flu.

Third, you ALLOWED her to not let you take off from work when you had the flu. You are a grown woman and she did not prevent you from using your own discretion.; you allowed her to do so (you should have stayed home and recovered).

Fourth, it sounds like you didn't have a contract, nor were taxes being taken out of your check. Why?

Fifth, you ran down the list of all the things you did, and kept doing, despite all of these red flags. And despite ALL of the red flags, you thought you were "becoming a well-respected member of the family" and honestly thought you were "becoming friends with the mother" ???

Sixth, I would NEVER, EVER barter for my housing. NEVER! At the very least, I would expect to be paid for working, and I would pay the rent with a check and get a receipt. Likewise, you also needed a lease. That way, if something went wrong, you would have proof of the agreement and payments. I'm surprised you thought she was going to rent it to you, even though she pushed the date back 6 x.

Seventh, if she's a "well respected part of the police force" I might report her to them, but I wouldn't expect anything to be done about it. And, sure, you can take her to court, but it would be a hassle.

It's sad you went through this, but it is an EXCELLENT (though painful) life lesson if you allow it to be. You don't have to be bitter, no matter how it turns out. There was no deception on her part. She showed you exactly who she was all along. For whatever reason, you ignored all of the flags. Please ask yourself why. Good luck with whatever you decide to do and please keep us informed.

MissMannah said...

I'm sorry, but after 8 years of nannying, shouldn't you know better than to let parents take advantage of you? All through your post I was thinking this was your first job and you didn't know but then you said you're 26 and a professional so I just can't feel bad for you. And why are you so hesitant to give her your SS#? You should have filled out a W2 at the beginning, which would have included your SS# anyway, which any professional nanny knows. Wow listed all the red flags and I agree with her, except for the nanny vs babysitter labels. Some people don't understand the difference and you just have to let it go. It isn't a disrespect thing, it is just what some people say.

Nanny S said...

Well, everyone covered the most important things- don't enter into rental agreements like that. Secondly, though it is a civil matter, I have heard of people calling the police to come over on their behalf and persuade the person to pay them the money owed. This could carry some SERIOUS weight if she is in fact a member of said police force. Do not give her your SSN, as someone said, ask for a W-2, or simply say that you'll file a 1099 (though definitely don't actually do that since it requires the nanny to pay more taxes and the employer to still receive the childcare benefit) and that will shut her up. Definitely send her a billing invoice for your services and a letter clearly outlining all your verbal agreements.

Lastly, even if you do make a claim in court, you can't get money out of people who don't have any.

Learn your lesson, try to collect your payment, and move on.

Truth Seeker said...

When you first accepted the position, the first red flag would have been how this woman fired her previous Nanny mere minutes before she hired you. I wouldn't have accepted the position since I would feel it would be me she would fire next like that. Huge red flag over looked OP.

Anyway, I cannot understand for the life of me why she is acting like such a scatterbrain. Who care anyways? You need your dough. So I would send her a letter asking for it, if you do not receive it, I would take her to small claims court. I think she has the money, she just is acting stupid over it. Even if you were working under the table, she should still pay you...esp. if you both had a contract. I would save her text messages in case you need them for court later on. That is a problem for working under the table, you take the risk that you may not get paid your full amount since you have no time card to back up. I have worked under the table before and usually get paid what I am owed, however I do get nervous sometimes prior since I know the family can back out.

I wouldn't give her my #SSN because who knows what this crazy lady is capable of? To think that a cop is this looney freaks me out big time. ☺

Anonymous said...

This is the OP.

I'd like to address a few things:

1. When I started, I was interviewing for a very sweet, laid-back single-mom who was in desperate need of a nanny. I wasn't working and didn't see this being my main job, so I accepted the position because I was helping someone AND making good money. The kid has been a delight the entire time and I've felt very connected to him through his parents being split up, his set-backs in school, and his big move. I didn't want to abandon the child just because the mom was starting to lose her senses.

2. When we interviewed, I expressed my desire for a written contract as well as taxes being taken out, but was assured that even though she had too much going on right now, she would address it by next tax season and we could start then. I was understanding about getting "paid under the table" because, like I just mentioned, I was hoping this wouldn't be my only job and I could file taxes through whichever second job I got.

3. We DID have a lease/contract for the condo. I was actually bringing my check/signed lease with me on Monday (before I realized I wasn't going to be working anymore) to finalize everything, and my move-in date was supposed to be between October 1st-10th. She was going to pay me for my services, then I'd immediately write her a check for the same amount and hand it to her, paying my rent with that money. So there was a legal angle to it, and stipulations that would alter if I wasn't her employee anymore, it just never got to that because she took it away from me before I could get HER to sign the lease.

4. The woman found me on a website that does a thorough background check. I really wouldn't have had a problem with her taking my information, and I've been very forth-coming about my life (I'm an open book), but when she requested my information AFTER denying to pay me, I felt like there was something sketchy going on. She has never needed that information before, and waited until the day I told her I was going to take her to court if she didn't pay me to ask for it. It just felt really weird and because she's a cop, I don't know what she's trying to use the information for.

Sorry, just wanted to clear those things up! The situation has actually gotten worse - in the last two days she has been extremely threatening and childish. She threatened to get a PPO against me if I didn't "drop the money issue" and I actually had to look up Michigan legislature to remind her that "contacting someone over money owed" is not harassment and all I want is my money. She has also sent rude texts saying, "at least you don't have my new address" and things of that nature (although I actually do have all her information because of our lease agreement.)

Sigh. It's just sad that people can be taken advantage of like this when all they wanted to do was enrich a life and support their own. I loved this kid and was very happy (for the most part) working for these people, and honestly believed the good outweighed the bad. Now I'm unemployed, lost a reference (since her attitude clearly states she will not say nice things about me,) and won't ever see the kid again and can't explain what happened.

Also, like I mentioned in the original post, I have never had a situation like this arise. I am on EXCELLENT terms with all prior families and one of them has even offered me a regularly scheduled weekend gig + housekeeping shifts due to finding out what happened with my current family. So this is a huge shock to me that nannies can be treated like this.

Anonymous said...

OP here.

Sorry, when I said in the post that I wouldn't be receiving cash from her again for my services once I was renting the place, I was unclear. I meant to imply that this was my SOLE income for the property. I have outside income sources starting next month and was going to use this nanny position to solely pay for the condo. I wasn't going to have any extra cash, ever, from her because my condo payment would've been exactly what I made. I didn't realize how unclear I was about that until just now.

Wow said...

Truth Seeker...

Thanks for covering the issue with the other nanny. I knew I'd forgotten something, there were so many flags! I don't think OP gets it, based on her response. Well, we tried!

Just a thought said...

I agree that there were many red flags here but I dont think you can blame it all on the OP! It seems like all of you are saying you would have quit as soon as there was one red flag but I dont know if you would really do that if you were in the situation. I recently had to quit my nanny job and everyone around me was like "Just quit, what's the big deal?" but if you already have an attachment to the family it isn't always that easy. Things always look easier and more simple from the outside looking in.

If all of you nannies just quit a job as soon as one thing goes wrong, how do you ever stick with one job? Obviously if it is something major, quitting may be the best option but I, for one, am not someone who just walks away when one thing doesn't go as planned.

I know someone is going to disagree with me here but this is just my opinion.

alex said...

wow, this is a hard one. I would definitely get someone involved but seeing she is a cop it makes the situation more confusing.

Now that being said, thanks for clearing up the payment/taxes thing. This is obviously a hard lesson to learn :( She definitely does have to pay you and I would take her to court to get that money and I agree with whoever said reminder her about all the money SHE will pay in taxes if she is going to act like that and it was her choice to wait in the first place which she could get in trouble for.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

OP, I think everyone else has pretty much cover things, but I did want to ask about this:

"The woman found me on a website that does a thorough background check."

What website would that be? I know Sittercity and care both claim to do checks, but you don't get much in a $9 "background check", so I am curious as to where your former boss found you!

a mom said...

I'd email her and say that you thought she had been withholding taxes from you all along as is required by law on her end. Then say "did you forget to withhold my taxes and make quarterly payments to the state?" Is that why you aren't paying me the money for these last few days of work I did for you? Then say "I'm so sorry that I've been bugging you about this...I thought you had been withholding all along. Then give her an address of a friend (since you are moving) where she can mail your W-2 by Jan 31, 2012 so you can file your taxes. Then you ask her for her EIN number so you can also get the ball rolling on your end. Then close by saying that you are sorry for the misunderstanding and you realize that she, as an employee of the county could get in serious trouble for not paying taxes on a household employee so that you completely understand her desire to do things legally.

a mom again said...

also, I'd tell her "didn't I fill out a W4 with my SS# when I first started working for you?" You should already have my SS# or should be able to get it from the state thru your Employer Identification Number (EIN). I'm not comfortable texting it to you again. DO you want to meet in person sometime? I'd like to go over the paperwork anyway for tax purposes.

new jersey girl said...

OP I think I would just drop it. Fact is she is a cop and can make your life miserable. Is it worth the couple of dollars? I just don't think its worth it. Cut all ties with her.

Just remember on your next job, if someone doesn't value your time (as working on a weekend) and not getting paid for it, leave as soon as possible.

Hope all works out for you!

another nanny said...

OP, what an awful situation. I like the suggestion of sending a certified letter (of course I guess she might refuse to sign for it) and maybe even have it notarized. That doesn't really do anything, but it adds to the "official" nature, which might impress her somehow. Spell out exactly what she owes you for the hours you worked "as per our verbal contract" if you didn't have a signed agreement. Tell her to send you a tax form so you can complete it. Remind her of her own responsibilities as far as taxes (e.g. what percentage she owes, quarterly payments, etc), with as much detail as possible so that she realizes you can't really be fooled in this arena. You will probably have to include a date by which you will take further action if you don't receive payment.
I'm really not sure about the police report thing...but I would recommend doing so if you can. Whether or not they do anything with it, if you eventually go to court it will be useful documentation.

nycmom said...

I totally agree with "A Mom." You need to get on top of the tax issue NOW. It is the only actual issue that you can get in trouble for - the rest is empty threats. You need to take control now. Luckily you have not been there that long so you can still file taxes and not have problems (most likely). However, your former employer already has problems as she has quite clearly broken laws. Depending on your state (not sure if it is mentioned), she may have needed to have Worker's Comp and Disability insurance for you while you were working, and not having those carries huge fines.

After doing what A Mom suggests, again ask for your money in a written and certified form. Then, yes, file in Small Claims. With bullies, you need to fight back. Assuming you are going to continue to live in the same area as her, you need to get your concerns on the record.

Wow said...

I feel sorry for the little boy. Sounds like mom loves drama, and she also sounds pretty hateful. Who knows if he will become her target at some point?

Anonymous said...

OP here.

Thank you for all your suggestions/comments! Technically, today would've been my usual "payday", so I have asked her if she sent out my payment yet. If I don't hear back from her before Monday (and I do plan on texting a few more times - I prefer texting to calling with this woman because she LOVES to text AND because it gives me written proof) I'll be heading into court to see how to get this started. I have no problem paying the taxes from the last five months, I just don't really know how to go about all of that so I'll be taking your thoughts and researching it as much as possible. I know she's going to end up screwed on this, but I really did put a huge effort into this position and I feel very taken advantage of.

And for the person who said that it's just a couple bucks and to drop it, that's not true at all. I'm owed $220 and in Michigan, every penny helps. I don't have another job lined up yet (obviously, since I was NOT expecting this) and finding jobs in southeast Michigan is HORRENDOUS. I need every penny possible to stay afloat until I find something else. :/

Good for you said...

OP, I am glad that you are going after your money. You deserve it. Just because the MB is being childish and avoiding you, you shouldn't back down. You worked and deserved to be paid. I think that you need to show her that you are not backing down. Clearly she has the attitude that she can do whatever she wants without regard to others' feelings and that is not ok. Although you just want your money, it will also be a lesson learned for her (hopefully) that she can't just do whatever she wants. The worse part is that she is a cop! If she can't follow the simple rule of paying someone for their work, who knows what others rules or laws she is breaking.

Kudos to you for going after what is rightfully yours. It's not just about the money either. It's about standing up for yourself, something that comes up frequently on this site. I would be willing to bet that if she finds out you are going to bring her to court she will give in and just hand over the money. After all, she probably doesn't have a lot of free time for court, especially considering she no longer has a nanny :) Best of luck and let us know when you get your money... I have faith that you will!

Wow said...


Why don't you apply for unemployment? Did you have taxes taken out with your last job? If so, you might be eligible for unemployment, even though she didn't pay the taxes for this job. It's worth a try.

Truth Seeker said...

OP, I have a question for you...did anything happen recently that might have triggered her to suddenly start acting this way? Did you guys have some sort of disagreement, etc.?

Again, this lady sounds like a complete nutcase to me and I hope when she sees how seriously you need your money, she will cough it up. ◄

Every Penny Counts said...

PLease be sure to get cash, or a bank money order from her. Do not take a personal check under any circumstances, as it will most liekly bounce, and YOU would have to pay for that, or she will stop the check before you can even think about cashing it.
You deserve to be paid for your time worked, whether it is $5.00 or $200.00.
Best of luck to you, let us know how things work out.

Kara said...

@Every Penny true..I never thought about that, but this cop sounds pretty shady to me and I can totally see her writing out a rubber check.

thissucks said...

Wow OP. I'm so sorry that you're out of work. This is very unfortunate and stressful. I hate court, but that may be your next step. I wouldn't keep texting/calling though. She's ignoring you and not taking you seriously. Hope things get better for you. Hugs.