Tuesday, September 25, 2012
4 Nannies Fired for What They Posted on Facebook
I sent out an email randomly to many subscribers of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter asking if anyone had ever regretted something they had posted on Facebook. I asked our readers if they got in trouble at work or fired for something they posted on the social media site. Then, I asked if they could share what lesson they may have learned from the experience.
Here are the results:
1. Complained About Boss While Using Boss's Computer
A nanny that formerly worked in Brooklyn, New York said she was fired from her job for complaining about the kids in her care and her former employers on her Facebook account. She was irritated she had to stay late at her nanny job one night without prior notice from her employers. She missed a dinner date with her boyfriend. While waiting for the parents to arrive home the nanny complained about the parents on Facebook. She was using her employer's computer and used software on the computer to scribble doodles on the photo of her Dad Boss to look like the devil. She uploaded the photo of her Dad Boss with the caption, "Thanks For Nothing Boss From Hell," under the photo. The nanny didn't realize that her password had been saved for the account and the Dad Boss saw the photo and said it was so upsetting to him they would have to go their separate ways.
Lessons Learned: Don't complain about your employers on the Internet. Don't use your employer's computer for personal use like using social media.
2. Bad Choice of Words
A nanny that is very embarrassed to share her story wants readers to know she is not a racist. She explained that right before the 2008 Presidential election her nanny job wasn't going well. She was a conservative Republican and the parents who employed the nanny were (in her words) bleeding heart liberals. The nanny explained that she was joking with her friends on Facebook and used the "N" word to describe one of the presidential candidates, which she says she knows was dumb of her. The nanny explains that she wasn't friends with her employers on Facebook so she is still upset that one of her friends told her employers about the comment. Several days after the post on Facebook the parents wrote her a long note and spoke with her. They said since they were already having problems in the work relationship this was the straw that broke the camels back. The father said that he didn't want his kids growing up to say racial slurs or hear racial slurs. The nanny says she pleaded saying that she would obviously never say anything like that in front of the kids. She claims the comment wasn't even the truth, it was a joke. But, the parents said she shouldn't even use them as a reference because the father would tell anyone calling for a reference that she publicly called an African American the "N" word.
Lessons Learned: Don't post any inappropriate terms. Don't make racial slurs. Anything on the Internet can be shared with others. Just because you are not "friends" with your employers on Facebook, they still might find out what you wrote on Facebook.
3. Posted Photo of Child Without Permission
I was babysitting overnight while the girl I nannied for had a sleep over with her friend. I let them dress up and play with the mother's make up. I posted a cute photo of the girls on Facebook with the caption, "I'm sexy and I know it." The parents of the other girl were upset that I posted a photo of their child without their permission. I don't know how they ever saw the photo in the first place. But they were ruthless about getting me fired after they saw the photo and what I wrote under it. The other girls' parents and my employers were so upset about the caption that they said I had bad judgement. They said I lacked enough common sense to care for kids. I obviously took the photo down immediately after they told me to. I kept explaining it was just a joke. I obviously wouldn't have posted it if I thought it was inappropriate! They basically called the nanny agency and said they need to find a new nanny and they felt I needed to find a new job.
Lesson Learned: Don't post photos of other people's kids without their permission. Never suggest a child is sexy.
4. Spending Too Much Time On Facebook During Work Hours
I was working as a nanny for 55-hours per week and there is a lot of down time especially when the baby was napping and the older child was in school. I was "friends" with the mother on Facebook. I actually never complained about my job in any way. I commented a lot on Facebook during the work day and below each comment it lists the time and day you write the comment. The mother actually took the time and energy to write down how much I commented. She showed me her log of my comments and said I was spending way too much time on Facebook and neglecting her children and that I was being given my four-weeks notice to find a new job.
Lesson Learned: Know ahead of time if you are allowed to be on the computer or visiting social media websites at your job (if at all).
For all the stories of nannies who have lost a job for posting unprofessional comments and photos on Facebook, there are many more who upset their employers for what they have posted on the social media giant. The biggest lesson I learned from the nanny's that were fired above is that nothing is private on the Internet.
To be true professionals, nannies must refrain from complaining about their jobs online. No one should post a photo of a child without the parent's permission. All employees should limit the amount of time spent on Facebook during working hours.