How to Handle False Accusations About Your Nanny
October 10, 2012 | in Background Check
Allegations of abuse, misconduct or illegal activity can be very damaging both to your nanny’s reputation and to the level of trust that you have in her. These accusations can also spread throughout your neighborhood or social circle, making an unfortunate situation ripe for discussion among friends, family members and acquaintances that have a much larger opinion on the matter than they do a grasp of the actual facts. When allegations leveled against your nanny are false, you may be forced to explain your motivation for keeping her on to the people around you. Determining whether or not the accusations are founded in truth and deciding how to handle the situation is never easy, but there are some steps that you can take to help muddling through the process be less of a nightmare.
- Consider the Source – If your four-year-old claims that your nanny rode a dragon and flew across rooftops one week, and that she punched him in the eye the next, it might be wise to think twice before branding her an abuser. Likewise, if the source of damaging information against your nanny is a vindictive ex or someone in your neighborhood whose veracity you question, giving the nanny that you trust and admire the benefit of the doubt is the best course of action. Provided that you have no qualms about her performance and absolutely no doubts regarding her innocence, letting the whole situation slide by with a minimal amount of melodrama may be wise.
- Discuss the Issue with Your Nanny – In the event of serious accusations being leveled against your nanny, it’s natural to be worried; even if you’re almost completely sure that she’s innocent, it’s never a good idea to ignore any concerns or doubts, however small, that you might have. Discussing the matter with your nanny in a calm, non-confrontational manner will allow you to ease your mind and give her the much-deserved opportunity to defend herself. When both of you are on the same page and are fully aware of the intricacies of the situation, defending her honor and your judgment will be easier should news of the fiasco leak.
- Confront Gossip Head-On – Unless you manage to nip allegations and the ensuing controversy in the bud very quickly, keeping the news from being spread by neighborhood busybodies can be almost impossible. Rather than dodge their stares or pick your way carefully around loaded questions, confront their suspicions directly. Provide as much information as you feel is appropriate when defending your decision, but don’t sacrifice your nanny’s right to privacy in the process.
- Cooperate with Authorities – Should the allegations your nanny is facing involve law enforcement, it’s of the utmost importance that you cooperate with them fully. Even if you’re angry that she’s in the unfortunate situation of defending herself against charges of which you know that she’s innocent, allowing your indignation to show in the form of reticence or disrespect for the investigating officers will only hurt her.
- Present Any Exculpatory Evidence You Have – Nanny cams, among other things, can provide unassailable evidence of wrongdoing by a nanny or childcare provider. In some cases, however, they can also provide very powerful exculpatory evidence. If you have any evidence that indicates your nanny’s innocence in the matter at hand, handing it over to the authorities or, in the case of allegations that do not involve law enforcement, referencing its existence to her detractors may help her rebuild her reputation.
- Carefully Consider Your Options – Even if you know that your nanny is absolutely innocent, dealing with the gossip and disruption that allegations against her can bring may be more than your household is equipped to handle. Should you decide to end your contract with her early as a result of this unfortunate situation, you should provide her with a full severance package and a glowing letter of recommendation for her next post. That being said, terminating a contract with a trusted, capable nanny simply because she’s been wrongly accused of misconduct is a very gray area, ethically.
- Ride it Out – The juiciest gossip becomes old news before too long, so battening down the hatches and riding out the storm of loose lips might not be the impossible task that it seems at the peak of the frenzy. If you love your nanny and know without a shred of doubt that she’s innocent, holding your head up and supporting her through a difficult time while ignoring neighborhood gossip will only strengthen the relationship you have with her in the long run.
The appropriate reaction to any accusations made against your nanny will vary, depending on what she’s been accused of and your personal level of trust in her. Use your own best judgment when it comes to handling your end of accusations, but be sure that you offer her as much support as possible if you know that she’s innocent.← 10 Ways Agencies Screen Nannies | 10 Things Great Nannies Have in Common →
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