opinion 1
I've been illegally demoted! I've been working with the same family for a year and a half. Three kids, 4 and under. It's great, but at times- its absolutely crazy.. but for the most part, I'm happy in my position.

In December, I found out I was expecting- which was a very welcomed surprise... Because MB only works 1-2 days a week, she was one of the first to know... While I never threw up, the nausea was obvious.

In early January, I was playing with the kids when suddenly I felt blood dripping down my leg. I called MB home from her hair cut and went to the ER immediately (my 1st sick day in a year and a half of employment.) I assumed I had lost the baby. Baby was still there, bouncing around and I was sent home. When I arrived to work the following day, my boss informed me she didn't feel comfortable with me caring for her kids in my unknown condition. I told her I understood, but doctors reassured me that I should be ok. About a week later, she went back to work for two days and things returned to normal. Great. Fine.

Earlier this week I learned I was being demoted. Instead of my salary of $825 a week, I will be working 2-4 days a week at $165 a day, while I work along aside another FT nanny. I am due in August, while new nanny begins in March... So I'm out no less than $700 a month until baby is due. After my maternity leave, there will be no set schedule and I will work random days with, or without other nanny- leaving me no room to get a supplemental part-time job. I'm extremely hurt by this.

When MB went on bedrest at 30 weeks, I worked 12-14 hours a day for 4 months, with no extra salary and I watched my relationship crumble away because of sheer exhaustion and lack of motivation. My life was non-existent, but I stayed because they needed me and I wanted a healthy outcome for all. Now, my job is going to become nothing. I feel like they're only offering me the 2-4 days because they'd rather pay me than pay my unemployment. They will continue to bump my days down to weed me out. If I eventually do get let go, my unemployment will be no big deal since I will have been working such small hours. Unfortunately, we have no contract. We did my first year, but when we got past that, they decided I no longer needed one. So my stock pile of vacation, sick and personal days can't be used for my maternity leave, or to even out the days I will be missing.

Now, here's the big WWYD question. In my state (WI) it is illegal to discriminate against me because of pregnancy. That includes being fired, demoted, laid off, etc. I cannot lose hours or wage because of my child. I've only slightly talked with a lawyer, who confirmed my suspicions of it being against the law. I'm not sure how to go further or if I'd want to. Before it gets suggested- I cannot find a new job. I'm 15 weeks and obviously pregnant. No one will hire me. Yes, I did use bcp. I'm 28, so I'm not stupid... The pill failed. I've been a career nanny for 10 years, all over the country... This is the first issue I've ever had with an employer. Please help! Wwyd? Thanks!


Truth Seeker said...

If I were you, I would try to speak to a lawyer. Some lawyers offer "free consultations" in my state (CA), but am not sure if any offer any where you live at. Check the yellow pages and see. I know, I know, I am SO old school.

You also might be able to collect disability if you are working on the books. Are you?

Nanny who loves her career!! said...

Your pregnant, you had a scare- glad you and the baby are okay, you did nothing wrong. MB has NO right to lessen your hours. If you can work- I would speak to a lawyer.

MissDee said...

OP, I can't even begin to imagine how you feel right now. I live in WI too, and you are right: employers in WI CANNOT do this to you because you are pregnant. In fact, WI state law prohibits any employer from asking questions about martial status and/or pregnancy on applications and during interviews. While marital status and pregnancy are concerns for families searching for nannies due concerns such as the nanny relocating due to husband's job or not returning to work after having a baby, pregnancy is your blessing and choice, and therefore, they have no reason to get upset with you and treat you like this.

I would contact the Equal Rights Division. File a complaint with the family, and put in your complaint everything you told us. You may also want to look into a lawyer practicing employment law, and there is a possibility you can earn back pay plus vacation pay. Because you don't have a contract, I would mention to the lawyer it was their decision to terminate it, despite you wanting to have one.

Last but not least, may I ask where you are located in WI and what agency you went through? I would talk to the agency and see if they can assist you. There are two agencies in the Madison area I do not care for based on owner personality, and a new agency just opened with a FT position available. If worse comes to worse, the childcare center I work at is hiring part time. Not the money you are used to making, however, it is something.

I would be more than happy to talk more via email. MPP has my email address.

Good luck to you and let us know what happens!!!

StrawberryShortKakes said...

First off, congratulations on your pregnancy!

I have to wonder, did MB give you a reason, other than your "unknown condition", for demoting you? From what you wrote, I am assuming that she is nervous leaving her children with you when you could potentially have another emergency. If that is her reason for demoting you, she needs a reality check. Pregnancy can often have complications, as she should know since she was on bed rest for several weeks. Did you question her reasoning for demoting you? I am just wondering because maybe she simply does not want you as their nanny anymore because you will soon have a baby of your own and it might not be convenient for her. While I understand that she needs a reliable nanny for her children, you seem like you have been a loyal employee for an extended amount of time. Not to mention it is illegal for her to demote you due to pregnancy.

By contacting a lawyer, what do you hope to get out of that? Are you expecting her to give you back your regular hours? Or are you trying to sue her?

unicornsparkleprincess said...

even if you weren't careful and weren't taking OCP, it doesn't mean you should be treated any differently. what she is doing IS illegal. what i would do first however, is go to her first. tell her how you feel and that you don't think it's fair and that it hurt you to be treated like this because of your new condition. if her response is flippant, or she fires you...then i would definitely pursue this. most definitely.

Mannhattan Nanny said...

Miss Dee:
Substitute woman for nanny, and put your words in the mouth of a male employer refusing to hire any women because
"marital status and pregnancy are concerns........ due concerns such as the (woman) relocating due to husband's job or not returning to work after having a baby, "
If there weren't laws against this, we nannies wouldn't have jobs, because none of our mombosses would have jobs!

OP, congratulations on your pregnancy. I hope you can talk to your MB and reassure her that you are able to handle the job. I suspect she is apprehensive because of her own experience with bed rest. As your pregnancy progresses, maybe she will see that she needn't worry. Good luck.

Nanny S said...

You definitely have legal recourse, but first, it's always best to handle these things. Perhaps MB and DB are not aware that what they're doing is illegal (no doubt they know it's not right and they are acting without any concern for you, but maybe they don't realize it's illegal). First try talking to them diplomatically. Say that you see where they're coming from but at the same time, what has happened is not legal. Say that you'd like to fix this and see if they have any solutions. Decide what you want--is it simply to keep your pay the same? Then say that you accept another full-time nanny working with you, as long as pay stays the same.

Over all, these things can get nasty and out of hand very quickly when two parties feel they're right and the other is wrong. Even though I (and the law) side with you, in the interest of finding a good (and legal) solution, think very hard about the things that MB and DB are concerned about. Think about the "psychological contract" that you have broken with them (their expectations, what they're accustomed to from you, even if there was no explicit agreement. For example, they see you as someone in good health. Having a medical emergency while with their kids violated their unconscious expectation of you. They might not even realize it, but it's things like this that are driving the conflict. Try to tap into that in order to approach them best. As you said, you're not in a good position to get another job, so try to handle this as tactfully as you can. Congratulations on your pregnancy, and good luck.

i feel for op said...

I was in a similar situation. But the family just decided to treat me like crap until I quit. Piling on extra heavy lifting chores that I no longer could do, chores that were not part of the original agreement.

I also made sure they were among the first to know of my pregnancy, and for my honesty I got shit on. Immediately their attitude towards me changed.

MissMannah said...

OP, you weren't very clear about what you want from this. Do you want the family to give you back your hours so you can get regular pay or are you really wanting to stick it to them and sue? I am sure that they have reduced your hours because they know they can't outright fire you for being pregnant and they probably want you to eventually quit or else not return from maternity leave. I was unaware that it was illegal to "demote" someone, so I assume your bosses didn't know that either. So really you need to figure out exactly what you want. If it was me, I would consult legal action ASAP because talking to MB likely isn't going to make any difference. Normally I would tell you to move on and get a job with a family that will respect you but I doubt you'll get hired with anyone else. Yes, it is illegal for someone to not hire you because you're pregnant but people can make up all sorts of stupid reasons why you're not "right" for the job. Also, I don't know if WI is considered an at-will state, but if it is, that means that you can get fired for any reason anyway. They can make up some BS reason and fire you, covering for the fact that they just didn't want a pregnant nanny. If that happens, sue the pants off them.

I feel for the op, you should have also sued. EEOC says that employers have to make reasonable acquisitions for pregnant employees. They legally cannot pile on jobs that make it difficult for you physically.

yikes said...

Maybe I'm wrong, but laws that apply to employers and discrimination for pregnancy etc don't usually apply to household/domestic employees. The state can't force a woman to hire/employee you to look after her sucks, but that's the way it is. One of the drawbacks of the nanny profession

shut up said...

Most of us don't have the time or the money to sue. That's just not realistic. It's naive.

another nanny said...

I guess personally I would try talking to the parents before going down the road of trying to sue. Let them know that you understand their concerns, but see if they would be willing to renegotiate the terms they have just set out. Maybe they could have the second nanny start part-time alongside you. This could provide a back up person for days when MB is working, and also allow you to train the new nanny (since someone will have to cover your maternity leave). Then they could increase her hours and decrease yours as needed as time goes on. I know a couple of my nanny friends intended to work throughout their pregnancy, but found the work (especially with multiple toddlers) just too exhausting as their pregnancy progressed. Also, possibly providing documentation from your doctor that you are fit for work would help.
FWIW, if you didn't need this job, I would recommend leaving. I'm sure they are concerned somewhat due to your medical emergency, but it sounds like they are also punishing you for being pregnant and making MB miss her hair appointment.

Anonymous said...

Op here.

I'm just responding quick as I have a few minutes before I need to be in for work.

I would hate to sue anyone. I am not the suing kind by any means, but I can't lose that large amount of money at such an unknown time. After I pay my bills each month I will have no money left over to save, and I may not even have money for gas or groceries or whatever. I still wont qualify for government assistance because i will still be making too much.

I want to keep my job and keep my pay, as is.

workingMom said...

You are pregnant with possible future healthy issues; the MB knows what this is like, if she was on bed rest with one or more of her pregnancies.
It is highly likely that you will request/require some length of maternity leave after you give birth, and that your job focus will change/shift once you have your own child.
Your service no longer meet the MB's needs.
When my hairdresser starts to become so popular that I can't get an appointment for three weeks, I shop for a new hairdresser. Your focus will now shift, and the MB is transitioning into a new nanny with less obligations.
I can't comment on the legality of her actions, but I doubt those who employ nannies have the same legal obligations in this area that other employers do.
It sucks, but it is life.
If you are married you will need to tighten your financial belt for the next year or so, until you are eligible for work again. If you are single you need to get a plan - whether that means moving back with your parents to save money, or whatever.
You need to look out for YOU. The MB is looking out for HER.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

OP, since you said that you just want your regular hours at your regular pay, I don't think taking legal action would be the best option. Think about it, after you bring MB to court and whatever, how awkward is it going to be to work in her house?!

I don't think that MB is right in this situation because she changed your hours without even discussing it with you. However, I do see why MB is concerned since, as a PP mentioned, she has experienced difficulties with pregnancy herself. She is basically trying to minimize you having to cancel on them by giving you less hours. Of course, like I said, I think she went about it in the wrong way.

I think your best bet is to approach MB with your concerns. Explain that you understand that she is worried that you might have to call out sick but you will try your best to minimize those occurrences. Perhaps having an on-call nanny would be a good idea. Assure her you are otherwise healthy and get a doctors note. Promise to keep her updated on your health and let her know if you have concerns. Keep the lines of communication open. I would use the fact that MB has "been there and done that" to your advantage. She knows what it is like to be pregnant.

Lastly, what was your plan for maternity leave and post-baby?

Phoenix said...

I am curious as to what state you live in. Also technically you were not "illegally" anything. When someone has a baby the company that hired them is required to make sure the mom has a job when she returns. That doesn't mean it would be the same job with the same pay. I've had lots of friends fall into this when they left for maternity leave. They came back but not what the left. Now, if you are in a right to work state like I am and you are employed by someone in a small business with less than 10 employees they can fire you for being a certain race, gender, sexuality, or health disability. They will usually come up with another reason they fired you though...

But in your case. You have no course of action except knowing what they did was not nice. I look at it from their point of view. I wouldn't think that you would come back after you had the baby and I would go about replacing you. I couldn't have my life interrupted. Even big corporation do stuff like this. When women go on leave at my company it is considred "disability" nothing special. To the company it is just a problem when they need to find someone else to do the work.

Phoenix said...

Oh stupid. I just saw you said WI. Let me look at the laws a little more. Technically you were not fired. And MB didn't lesson your hours because you are pregnant. She lessened your hours because she felt you could no longer perform your duties correctly. We all know that's wrong. But from a legal stand point it is your word against hers. She may even just fire you saying you are not a good fit.

Do you have a contract?

I'm going to look into WI laws a little more

Phoenix said...

sorry to post again. When you had your contract the first year there what did it say? If there were not dates given like you are employed from 1/1 - 12/31 of 2005 then your contract still stands. You need to find it

Bethany said...

Can you update us?

I don't know what I would do.

I would be scared to sue it would make work life awkward and good luck finding a job after that you'll be viewd as the nanny that sues to all potential employers.

LilOleMe said...

Is your state a "work at will" state? if it is then she can reduce, lay off an fire for no reason whatsoever....just like you can quit for no reason whatsoever.

Unless you have real proof that she is doing this solely because you are pregnant (her word against yours is not solid proof)She would need to be dumb enough to put it in writing or say it in front of witnesses willing to testify on your behalf in court.

It's interesting that you say no one will hire you because you are pregnant...which is also illegal.

This is a tough one,...good luck!!!!

Pregnant said...

Previous poster-

You answered your question regarding nobody hiring a pregnant lady. It is the employers word against yours. They can simply say that there was someone more qualified for a position. Being pregnant is great, but the discrimination that goes along with it is a tough pill to swallow.

Phoenix said...

Wow Anonymous, vindictive much? Who the hell turned you into a monster? Let go of your nastiness and then maybe people will want to be around you again.

Anonymous said...

OnceANanny says:
I'm sorry to hear about the difficulty you are encountering- you've had an apparently unexpected pregnancy, a health scare, and now a job complication. It seems to me that trying to force your employers to adhere to the working conditions you are accustomed to will not work. (You have no contract, they are already bringing another nanny on board to take over etc). You might be able to take the hours they offer and supplement them by doing some tutoring or by offering other services such as cooking, personal assistant or detailing. It's hard to deal with the number of changes you are about to face, but you need these people right now more than they need you. (Even a part time income is better than being unemployed). Try to have maximum grace under fire and if you do pursue legal recourse, for heavens sakes do so AFTER you have transitioned successfully and no longer have need of their reference. Best of luck to you!