Rob Lowe recently filed a lawsuit against three former employees claiming they had tried to exhort money from him, but one employee is striking back. Jessica Gibson worked for the Lowes for several years as a nanny. She alleges sexual abuse, claiming he touched her inappropriately on several occasions between February of 2005 and February of this year. A lawsuit has been filed in California on the part of Gibson.
According to Gibson’s account, Rob Lowe attempted to court her while she worked as the nanny for his two sons. However, Lowe has a much different take on it. In his lawsuit, he states that Gibson tried to exhort money from his family, and she was the one who pursued a relationship with him. In addition he is suing Gibson and two other employees claiming defamation of character and breach of confidentiality agreements, according to Scotland on Sunday.
While Lowe’s legal woes mount he can take solace in the fact that he is not the only celebrity who has run into piles of trouble over a nanny. When celebs, or anyone for that matter, hires live in staff there is always the potential for problems. Living in close proximity to one another and sharing a common goal (raising the kids in this case) can blur the lines of professionalism especially when a hired employee is on hand for several years. But there are ways to ensure the professional relationship does not step over the line simply because of the employees live-in status.
Rule one is to provide the Nanny with specific working hours. Because most nannies work on a salary it is easy for employers to pile on the hours and start to expect the nanny to take part in every family oriented activity that takes place. Treat the nanny as if she is commuting. Set hours and when those hours are over leave her/him to themselves. Inviting the nanny to events and outings is one thing but expecting them to be present is entirely different.
As an extension of rule one a nanny should be given their own personal space that is set apart from the family. While it is not uncommon for families to treat the nanny as an extension of their circle a clear line needs to be set. The room given to the nanny should preferably be set away from the children’s room as well as the parents room. Marital spats happen, but there is no need for the nanny to be within earshot of it. According to E-how placing the nanny close to the children at night might seem like a good idea but may make the nanny feel as if she is constantly on the job.
Encourage the nanny to go out and make friends. If the nanny is coming from a different part of the country or the world for that matter a new social support system is very important to their mental health. By keeping a nanny on the job constantly and not encouraging outings the employer is begging for the nanny to cling to the family in an unhealthy manner, which can create a world of trouble later on.
Many families feel the need to set curfews for their nanny, however Nanny Network suggests it is a very bad idea. By setting a curfew you are tying the nanny down as if he or she is an owned commodity. You would not set a curfew for the secretary at your office so there is no reason to set one for the nanny. If you feel that the nanny’s work is suffering due to her late hours out then a discussion is more appropriate than an imposed curfew..
Finally do not call on the nanny at odd hours or expect extra hours simply because she is a live-in employee. If you would not dream of calling your assistant from work at 4 a.m., then you shouldn’t dare call on your nanny at odd hours. Consider the nanny as an employee with a set schedule and a set list of responsibilities. If you feel you would like to revamp those expectations and responsibilities that is perfectly OK as long as you plan to compensate the worker in some way.
Bringing in a new person to someones home is difficult and after a certain period of time they may very well feel like an extension of the family. While there is no reason for employees and employers not to carry on a friendly relationship it is necessary to draw the line between close to the family and too close for comfort. The above tips should help to keep both nanny and employer happy and content with the professional situation.
Staff. A Life of Highs and Lowes. Scotland on Sunday
Karen Walker Ryan. Guidelines for Employing a Live-in Nanny. Nanny Network
“Eisfordanger”. How To Treat a Live-in Nanny. Ehow