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Nanny came to work hungover - WWYD?

(53 Posts)
Cosmia Mon 03-Mar-14 19:20:12

Our very reliable and dependable nanny turned up for work this morning (on time) and seemed a bit subdued. I asked about her weekend and she said that she had had a sad time as a friend's relative had died so she was consoling her. When I was chatting to her I noticed that she really smelled strongly of "old" booze, that smell that you get after a big session, rather than being drunk.

I asked if she had been drinking a lot last night and she said she had but didn't think she had drunk that much. I felt that if I could smell it, she clearly had put a fair amount away and was substantially hungover so wasn't happy to leave her caring for my child (a very active toddler incidentally, not that it makes a difference). I sent her home but don't know what to do now.

I totally get that what people do in their own time is their own business BUT if it impacts on the quality of care that they provide, then it becomes my problem.

Should I consider that everyone makes mistakes, read her the riot act and hope it never happens again? Sack her on the spot? I just don't know. (The thought of having to nanny hunt again is dire but that isn't a good enough reason for keeping someone who is substandard).

Anyone had this? Got any advice to share? All guidance gratefully received!

Thanks

Chloerose75 Mon 03-Mar-14 19:49:54

Huge overreaction. I don't think she really did wrong. She showed up, on time, ready to work. She would have been fine.

NickNacks Mon 03-Mar-14 19:53:46

I think you need to apologise to her tbh.

Nannyowl Mon 03-Mar-14 20:14:12

Was it alcohol or ketones you could smell. A sweet smell , diabetics breath smell of this and also some people who don't have diabetes but as others have said metabolise drink food differently. Are you sure it wasn't someone close to her who died, and she hadn't spent the last 24hours crying and not eating?
She said she hadn't drunk a lot i.e. would not have still been under the influence of alcohol but you didn't believe her.
But I feel sometime you have to follow your instinct and maybe you were right she was still under influence of drink and lying to you.
So now I think you need to ring her and apologise but explain why you did what you did. Maybe you could ask more about the friend who died make sure not someone close to her.
You also need to pay her as she was available to work.
Not sure on the legalities of issuing warning for hangovers I can see your point, you are paying someone to care for your child and they should be 100 percent fit for work (unless become ill at work).
Hopefully it will not happen again.

olympicsrock Mon 03-Mar-14 20:16:40

Yes, you over-reacted. She was not so hung-over that she couldn't get to work on time so possibly just one of those people who have a ketone smell after drinking.
It also appears to be a one off AND she told you there were mitigating circumstances. I think you should have been a bit more compassionate. In your shoes I would have sympathised and been grateful that as well as being a loyal friend she is a loyal employee who will turn up even if under the weather.
I would talk to her about your concerns but would suggest calling it a paid day off. Reasonable to ask her not to do it again.

wadi1983 Mon 03-Mar-14 20:17:48

Hungover.

Not drunk.

She is allowed to drink the day before work!

TheCrackFox Mon 03-Mar-14 20:19:27

I would imagine that she spent her surprise free day looking for a new job.

wadi1983 Mon 03-Mar-14 20:22:31

Just because she was hungover, smelt of alcohol, doesn't mean she wouldn't of been able to look after your child properly!

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 03-Mar-14 20:23:16

I don't even think you can be sure she was hungover tbh. Subdued (because she was sad?) and smelling a bit of alcohol does not really constitute a hangover.

Massive over reaction. You need to apologise to your nanny and pay her for today.

Viviennemary Mon 03-Mar-14 20:26:24

She could easily just have phoned you up and said she was ill but she turned up. I'd just forget about this if she is reliable and responsible. She wasn't drunk.

Pimpf Mon 03-Mar-14 20:29:15

Wow. Massive over reaction. Have you never been to work with a hangover or looked after your child when hungover?

I'm going against the majority, but I don't think it is acceptable to turn up to work smelling of alcohol or with an obvious hangover. I wouldn't leave my child in the care of a hungover nanny. If I was in your position I would be considering giving a verbal warning, however I would seek some sort of HR advice before doing that.

Parentingfailure Mon 03-Mar-14 21:12:01

Oh poor girl, I bet she's job hunting right now. Did she actually do anything to make you think she was not capable of working properly? She can drink on a work night if she wants and it sounds like she was sad because of her friends situation.
I feel really sorry for her.

Op has agreed!

SlightlyDampWellies Mon 03-Mar-14 21:16:27

So she was at a funeral, in her own time, and participated in a legal activity again in her own time.

Hmm. If she had been incapable that would be one thing, but tbhI think you massively overreacted. Besides, looking after small Dcs while feeling alittle subdued - for whatever reason- is its own punishment.

Sunnysummer Mon 03-Mar-14 21:17:18

I understand how you feel, the alcohol smell would really bother me on a nanny, especially if any driving was involved (if that were the case I would asked her not to). However, given that she was hungover not drunk, that she was open about it, that it was a one off and that she is generally fab, I'd suggest going into damage control mode.

Agree that you should really pay her for the day and apologise.

SlightlyDampWellies Mon 03-Mar-14 21:19:14

Oh sorry- i assumed she was at a funeral, but maybe not, she was consoling.

KatieHopkinsEvilTwin Mon 03-Mar-14 22:56:51

You sound like hard work op

McFox Mon 03-Mar-14 23:04:14

I hope that she spent the day looking for a new job because you sound like a hellish boss. You don't own her.

LittleBearPad Mon 03-Mar-14 23:30:52

You overreacted. And if you wanted to make sure she didn't do it again then you'd have let her look after your 'active' toddler.

I imagine you'll be nanny hunting soon as she will have found another position.

rollonthesummer Mon 03-Mar-14 23:37:52

Good luck finding Mary Poppins, OP.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 04-Mar-14 00:09:17

As others have said you majorally over reacted

She turned up at work on time and a little subdued - think we all would if a close friends relative had died)

She wasn't drunk - she was hungover - which she admitted. Tbh you didn't need to send her home / she could of had a quiet tv/duvet/sofa day

Years ago I went to work with a hangover. Felt literally crap and made db a coffee (which I hate) and threw up in the kitchen sink blush and just wanted to go home

Think last serious hangover was day after my husbands funeral sad - felt like complete crap (obvious reasons) and also as drinking pints of g&t .....

I think you need to apologise to your nanny

The op has agreed swbu

Beckyboo4 Thu 06-Mar-14 17:57:28

I don't think OP has overreacted. You cannot turn up to work smelling of alcohol and be hungover and still believe you are 100% up to the job.

pombal Thu 06-Mar-14 18:09:04

You didn't overreact.

It's not acceptable to turn up at work hungover in some professions and IMO being in charge of children is one of them.
It's not like sitting in front of a computer with a cup of coffee, pretending to work.

waterlego Thu 06-Mar-14 18:23:20

I would have been worried about her driving, if she was required to do any. (There are hangovers, and there are Hangovers, and
I know that I have been unfit to drive with some of the hangovers I had in my dim and distant past).

But if it was a day when she wouldn't have to drive the child(ren) anywhere, I'd have let her stay and do her job, given that she was functioning well enough to turn up on time, and seemed ok. ie, you had to probe to get the information out of her...it was only the smell that alerted you, rather than incoherent speech or behaviour.

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