Live-in and live-out nannies have access to private information in your household that you may not want shared outside your household. What do you do to prevent this information leakage? What do you do once information leakage has occurred?
Prevention is best accomplished by the following steps:
1. Screen your nanny candidates well. Interviews, reference checks, and background checks may indicate whether any of your nanny candidates are predisposed to information leakage.
2. Ensure that your nanny contract includes a confidentiality provision that details what information is confidential, in what contexts confidential information can/should be disclosed and to whom, and that the policy governs even after the nanny’s employment relationship ends.
3. Speak to your nanny at the time of her hire about the importance of confidentiality and trust in your household.
4. Reinforce the message about confidentiality often and consistently throughout her term of employment.
5. When her term of employment ends, remind her again of her contractual obligations that she agreed to in her original nanny contract as the confidentiality provision should be worded to apply even post-employment. If you are concerned about some particular information leakage, you may offer your departing nanny a severance agreement that offers her a financial incentive to maintain confidentiality.
Once information leakage has occurred, you should:
1. Discuss the leak with your current or former nanny. Talk about the consequences that the leak had or may have had on your family. Remind your nanny or former nanny of her contractual (and ethical) confidentiality obligation. If you are dealing with a hostile former nanny, you may need to have your attorney hold this discussion with her.
2. If your current nanny is responsible for the leak, ask her to re-commit herself to the terms of her nanny contract. If the leak was significant or potentially significant, you may wish to engage in progressive discipline (verbal warning, written warning, dismissal, etc.).
3. If possible, enlist your current or former nanny in handling the consequences of the leakage. For example, if your nanny made a public statement that reflected badly on your household, perhaps a public statement made jointly by you, your attorney, and your nanny may help to correct some of the damage done by the leakage. Another example: your ex-husband comes to your home to pick up your/his son for visitation, and your nanny off-handedly repeats information to him that he in turn uses to make your life difficult. In this scenario, you may wish to have your nanny recant her information leak (if doing so does not require her to state untruths).
By following these steps, you will do all you reasonably can to prevent your nanny from disclosing your confidential information and to correct breaches of confidentiality once they have occurred.