I am an OFSTED registered, professional nanny with over 15 years experience working with children. There has been lots of challenging nanny roles but non as stressful as the following:
After 18 months of working for a family, the dynamics of my job description changed. After months of being project managed (and feeling less like the sole charge nanny originally hired), I handed in my notice in search of a position more challenging.
Handing in my notice was the easy part. My then employers (Mr & Mrs S) were very understanding and supportive. That was clearly shown in the glowing written reference I got 5 weeks before the end of my employment.
Communication and professionalism remained solid between myself and Mr and Mrs S.
One morning a week after I handed my notice Mr S was confrontational and his whole persona was that of a bully. He was right up in my face, invading my personal space and raising his voice. This all happened in front of the children and his wife.
After this Mr & Mrs S left me with the children to go to work, I called a well known nanny agency for advice. They told me to contact Mr & Mrs S to request an emergency meeting. This meeting ended with an immediate dismissal for me.
The following morning I wrote an email to Mr and Mrs S asking them to explain why they dismissed me with immediate effect. I also requested to say goodbye to the children.
I contacted ACAS (http://m.acas.org.uk/), presented my case and read them the emailed reply from Mr & Mrs S.
ACAS assured me I had a case and I should contact Morton Michel because I had a nanny insurance policy with them.
Morton Michel asked me to forward all relevant information, including a copy of my contract and the last email communication with Mr & Mrs S. After 4 weeks of initially contacting Morton Michel, they confirmed what ACAS had said. I had a case I just needed a legal to argue my point.
I was told that my nanny insurance covered me to have a legal representative look at my case but not defend it! What exactly was I paying this company for?
In the Intrum I was applying for permanent and temporary jobs. Mr and Mrs S were withholding my final pay, holiday money owed, over time and expenses. I had bills to pay and no money for legal fees!
I contacted the citizens advice bureau (CAB, https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/). To say they were extremely helpful is an understatement!! The government cutbacks and lack of funding left limited time for me to present my case. I was juggling temporary work, whilst still trying to secure a permanent nanny position.
What was going on? Despite having years of childcare experience, being OFSTED registered and having good written references, job offers were retracted. I was honest and open about the Mr & Ms S situation.
I went against the advice of the well-known nanny agency who suggested that I remove them from my CV. They said I could pad out my CV with temp work through their agency. Why wouldn’t I disclose it? 18 months of committed and good work was supported with the written reference from Mr & Mrs S. However, I was informed by a potential employer that Mr and Mrs S’s verbal reference was: “no comment, it’s a legal matter”, before hanging up the phone.
After a lot of exchanged emails between Mr and Mrs S and the CAB, who were acting on my behalf, a resolve could not be met so the case was brought before a panel at the employment tribunal.
The CAB had little funding so a solicitor could only be assigned on the court date. I wouldn’t have had time to brief the solicitor of all the case details, so I decided to represent myself! This meant I would have to present my case as well as plan my defence and apply for court orders for the two professional nannies I asked to be my whitenesses.
The financial stress was hard enough to bare but I was also emotionally exhausted. My reputation was being tarnished, this was defamation of character!
I was forced to sign on which was the only way to get the payment protection on my credit cards paid and on top of all that I was dealing with a family bereavement!!
It’s funny how it takes a situation like this to show you who your real friends are.
After 6 months without a permanent job and waiting for a verdict from the employment court, I was awarded all monies owed!
The well known nanny agency won’t put me forward for any positions because “parents just don’t want to hear that”.
This has not prevented me from gaining employment as a nanny! I am always honest when asked about this part of my carrier!
So what do you think about that?