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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!


coffeewithcreamm Mon 03-Mar-14 19:23:44

She wasn't drunk at work, just hungover. I don't think you should read her the riot act, at all.

FourFlapjacksPlease Mon 03-Mar-14 19:24:48

Hungover and drunk are not the same thing. I think what you did was a massive over reaction.

She has a right to do what she likes in her own time. She arrived on time, wasn't drunk and is usually reliable.

You are her boss, not her keeper!!

Helpyourself Mon 03-Mar-14 19:24:50

As a one off I think it's acceptable. Unless she drove to you or drives your dcs, in which case yes it would be a deal breaker.
OP, do you have particular reason to be sensitive about alcohol? I'm a recovering alcoholic and have to check with non alcoholics as to what's ok about drinking as I know my perception is skewed.

RoganJosh Mon 03-Mar-14 19:27:02

I'm sure my breath smells of it the next day when I've had about three small glasses of wine. She wasn't necessarily in that bad a state. Up to her really to decide. Just as if she was ill or extremely tired etc

quietlysuggests Mon 03-Mar-14 19:28:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PotteringAlong Mon 03-Mar-14 19:29:36

But it didn't impact on the quality of care? She turned up to work on time, ready to do her job. You just didn't let her.

If she was drunk, fair enough. Hungover? Her lookout, let her carry on.

Technical Mon 03-Mar-14 19:30:22

Very occasionally I have been hungover in charge of my own children. I would be a terrible mother if it was a regular occurrence but once in a blue moon, not really.

I have also been to work with a hangover (again very occasionally, I promise) and probably wasn't as effective as usual that day but as a one off I wouldn't expect it to be an issue.

I get that it feels wrong when it's someone you're trusting to care for your child but as an employer, provided her work that day is "OK" I don't think you can have an issue with it TBH.

expatinscotland Mon 03-Mar-14 19:30:26

I think you over-reacted.

PotteringAlong Mon 03-Mar-14 19:30:26

Also, sack her on what grounds? That she got drunk when not at work?!

expatinscotland Mon 03-Mar-14 19:32:14

She may not have even been drunk last night, either. Some people carry the scent more. She may have also been crying with her mate, hence, being subdued.

Hiphopopotamus Mon 03-Mar-14 19:32:16

To be honest I think you overreacted. She was hungover, not drunk. Would you have sent her home if she had turned up tired?

You said she is reliable and dependable, yet you are considering sacking her for this? I think you are being unreasonable.

NatashaBee Mon 03-Mar-14 19:33:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Coconutty Mon 03-Mar-14 19:35:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cosmia Mon 03-Mar-14 19:38:46

Thanks for all the replies - useful sanity check :-) I totally agree that whatever she does in her own time is up to her, but my concern I think stems from a lack of judgement that she thought it was OK to drink what must have been a lot on a "work night". I wouldn't think it was acceptable to do that and then go and do a day running round and concentrating on a child (hiding behind a computer perhaps more so...)

FabBakerGirl Mon 03-Mar-14 19:38:54

Let this one go. It isn't nice to have breathed on by stale booze though so she should have got the hint I hope.

Biscuitsneeded Mon 03-Mar-14 19:38:56

She came to work, rather than retreating under the duvet and claiming she had a bug, which is what I'm sure many would do. Have you never had a hangover yourself since becoming a parent? (I've only had a couple, and admittedly it only takes a couple of glasses of wine to make me feel pretty lousy, but I'm sure most people do it at some point). It's not ideal, obviously, but I'm sure she managed fine. I think you should cut her some slack, and you only need to act if she makes a habit of it.

FabBakerGirl Mon 03-Mar-14 19:39:24

I mean as in don't sack her.

Biscuitsneeded Mon 03-Mar-14 19:40:52

Sorry - would have managed.

expatinscotland Mon 03-Mar-14 19:41:58

How do you know it was a lot? Some people hold a scent more. She said she hadn't drunk a lot, and she may have been up crying with the mate.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 03-Mar-14 19:44:03

Some people smell of alcohol after even a small amount. My DH smells terrible the morning after even just a glass or two - it's something to do with the way he metabolises it. I wouldn't necessarily take that as a sign that she was very drunk or was incapable of looking after a toddler the following day.

MildDrPepperAddiction Mon 03-Mar-14 19:46:46

Op I think I would have sent my nanny home in that situation as she is required to drive my children to school etc. In that case, as with anyone who needs to drive as part of their job, she would have been irresponsible. Even if she wasn't driving them, I still wouldn't be happy. I know my boss wouldn't be if I turned up smelling of booze and obviously hungover.

LadyMud Mon 03-Mar-14 19:47:26

If she drank a lot last night, then she may still have been "over the limit" this morning. Many people are not aware of the lingering effects of alcohol, even after a good night's sleep.

I think you did the right thing in sending her home - but I really hope she didn't drive.

coffeewithcreamm Mon 03-Mar-14 19:48:24

Bet your nanny can't wait to get to work in the morning. Way to go!

cansu Mon 03-Mar-14 19:48:45

massive overreaction.She is a nanny not a saint. Many people occasionally drink too much and feel a bit hungover the next day. Many of them I am sure do responsible jobs perfectly well. If she was drunk you would have a point. She could have pleaded illness and stayed home leaving you without childcare.

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