No way am I giving my Nanny a Reference
by Marta Perrone
It happens very often that a person who has worked many long and arduous years for a family has the misfortune of leaving a place of employment without obtaining a Letter of Reference. With a gap in the resume, chances for employment can be problematic.
In many states, like California, the labor code requires “employment verification”. This means the employer is obligated to provide a letter indicating dates, duties performed and reason for termination. It is actually a good idea to comply and write this type of reference letter to avoid personal calls while giving the employee at least proof of employment.
There are many reasons why an employer refuses to write a letter of reference:
· Disgruntled, angry and resentful, the employer is virtually “pissed off” for one reason or another and decides to offer the final lashing by not helping the employee obtain further job opportunities with others.
· The Employee was actually not competent and the Employer doesn’t want to have to lie on paper nor be obvious about the truth. It would be much easier to simply say…”Have anyone just call me for a reference.”
· Without a letter, there is no proof that the employee worked and this may be prudent if the employer did not comply with federal and state laws as it relates to immigration and internal revenue issues.
In these economic times, the worst thing that any employer could do is to make it even more difficult for another person to become employed. Do you really want to be responsible for this employee to turn out homeless or struggling just because there were differences between you? I would hope not.
Obviously, you cannot dismiss the fact that domestics – nannies, housekeepers and other household employees can be found doing things that warrant immediate termination. For example, if a childcare provider hurt a child or was so negligent that the child was put into severe danger, you would not want to recommend this person to continue working with children. Other examples may relate to honesty and trustworthiness. But if the issue is less severe and more of a personality issue between you resulting in attitude and performance problems, then we must be more compassionate, attempt to see both sides and ultimately be the teacher and student in the experience.
My advice to the employer:
1. Write a letter of employment verification
2. Be open to speak with a prospective employer and take into consideration do not just focus on the bad points but
look at the overall picture taking into account everyone’s perspective.
3. Ask questions of the prospective employer so you understand the new job description. Perhaps this new job is more suitable for the employee and things that happened in your position would not be relative.
4. Sit down with the employee quietly and explain why you are upset and reluctant to write a letter – hash it out so that you can clear the air in yourself and with the employee so you can end things in the best of terms possible.
5. Try to be forgiving and understanding knowing that we are not perfect and all of us have much to learn in many ways.
About Marta …
When I needed help to care for my first child, I started just like any other new parent. I did not know where to turn and how to begin the process. After a great deal of trial and error, I ultimately found a wonderful nanny to help me. Realizing that there was a desperate need for good companies who could help other parents like me find the right assistance for their children, I began working from home building my company. Domestic Connections Agency has been a full service agency for over 20 years since 1989. Our domestic agency is located in Encino, California. Born in Madrid, Spain, I came to the United States as an immigrant at age five landing in New York City. Most of my life has been spent in Los Angeles where I attended UCLA majoring in Spanish and Linguistics.
Several years ago, I started writing books to help household employers follow proper procedures for hiring and maintaining their domestic help. In 2006 “Help! How to Find Hire Train & Maintain Household Help!” was published and received the Mom’s Choice Award.
Currently I serve as a consultant to families, lecture at educational centers for parents and conduct weekend training seminars for nannies and housekeepers