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Old 21.05.2021, 11:13
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How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good terms

Hi all,

I ended the employment of my live-in nanny in December 2020, and abided by all the right regulations such as notice period etc. The official reason was that we no longer needed the help, but in reality, her behaviour was the last straw for me. She worked with me for 5 years, with instances of lying and petty theft, and in hindsight, I should have been bolder and ended the employment much much earlier. She even had friends turn up unannounced at my doorstep and accusing me of mistreating her, one sent me an abusive text, and one ex-husband also asked me for help to reclaim a loan he had given her. So you see what stories she has been spinning....but I was stupid and gullible enough to keep giving her the benefit of the doubt - until it all escalated in intensity which then made me finally end the employment.

After she left, she sent me several letters of demand asking for compensation up to CHF 200,000 (!) which she justified with ridiculous and spurious allegations such as not being allowed to eat lunch, being given a bedroom which was too small (it's identical to what my daughter has), not being allowed to take holidays,
not allowing her to lock her door, emotional abuse, witholding her contract etc etc. Real total rubbish that were all blatantly untrue. Anyway, I dealt with all that by being very factual and addressing all her allegations systematically. She eventually apologised and said it was her ''friend'' who had written and instigated it all. But the stress it caused me was not low.

So now she is asking me for a 'benevolent' letter of reference. I sent her a confirmation of employment letter, which stated the duration she worked for me and the tasks she did> general housekeeping, cooking and childcare. She's not happy with this and wants something which states how good she was, given she worked for me for 5 years. She's said she hopes ''not to have to seek legal counsel.''

She is from Asia, and the Amt fur Migration has confirmed that she has no permission to seek any other employment here. I don't even know how she has managed to stay in the country for nearly 6 months after the end of her employment.

Any tips on how to approach this? Anyone been in the same situation before in providing a letter of reference to an employee who has been substandard?

Thank you, and TGIF!
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Old 21.05.2021, 12:04
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

You can't openly write negative things that you have no hard proof for, that's defamation and illegal.

I think people usually work around that by using coded phrases that make the text seem positive to an unsophisticated eye, but actually carry a negative message to those who know how the system actually works. For some examples: https://kanzleiniehus.de/zeugnisrecht/#_Toc473209613
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Old 21.05.2021, 12:08
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

Hmmm, appreciating there are always 2 sides to every story like this, my counsel, taking your version at face value, is to have a quiet chat with your local copper, as a pre-emptive strike against any future trouble.

Then let the former staffer know that you've checked in with the police, the tax authority and the migration department, and that they've all confirmed that you've provided what is required in terms of the reference, but that you wish her well with her job search otherwise.

Hopefully she would read between the lines with that messaging, and then leave you alone. I wonder if you need to change your locks in the meantime?

Good luck.
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Old 21.05.2021, 12:13
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

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Hi all,

I ended the employment of my live-in nanny in December 2020, and abided by all the right regulations such as notice period etc. The official reason was that we no longer needed the help, but in reality, her behaviour was the last straw for me. She worked with me for 5 years, with instances of lying and petty theft, and in hindsight, I should have been bolder and ended the employment much much earlier. She even had friends turn up unannounced at my doorstep and accusing me of mistreating her, one sent me an abusive text, and one ex-husband also asked me for help to reclaim a loan he had given her. So you see what stories she has been spinning....but I was stupid and gullible enough to keep giving her the benefit of the doubt - until it all escalated in intensity which then made me finally end the employment.

After she left, she sent me several letters of demand asking for compensation up to CHF 200,000 (!) which she justified with ridiculous and spurious allegations such as not being allowed to eat lunch, being given a bedroom which was too small (it's identical to what my daughter has), not being allowed to take holidays,
not allowing her to lock her door, emotional abuse, witholding her contract etc etc. Real total rubbish that were all blatantly untrue. Anyway, I dealt with all that by being very factual and addressing all her allegations systematically. She eventually apologised and said it was her ''friend'' who had written and instigated it all. But the stress it caused me was not low.

So now she is asking me for a 'benevolent' letter of reference. I sent her a confirmation of employment letter, which stated the duration she worked for me and the tasks she did> general housekeeping, cooking and childcare. She's not happy with this and wants something which states how good she was, given she worked for me for 5 years. She's said she hopes ''not to have to seek legal counsel.''

She is from Asia, and the Amt fur Migration has confirmed that she has no permission to seek any other employment here. I don't even know how she has managed to stay in the country for nearly 6 months after the end of her employment.

Any tips on how to approach this? Anyone been in the same situation before in providing a letter of reference to an employee who has been substandard?

Thank you, and TGIF!
Since she worked for you for 5 YEARS, there is no way you can write a poor reference, if she was as bad as you claim she would have been sacked years ago.
I get the feeling there is some bitterness, did she sleep with your husband?
I notice you have a new account for this thread, what is your other handle ?
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Old 21.05.2021, 12:16
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

If what you say is true, let her seek legal advice. You've confirmed her employment formally, I would ignore her from now on and keep a record of the harassment
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Old 21.05.2021, 12:26
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You can't openly write negative things that you have no hard proof for, that's defamation and illegal.

I think people usually work around that by using coded phrases that make the text seem positive to an unsophisticated eye, but actually carry a negative message to those who know how the system actually works. For some examples: https://kanzleiniehus.de/zeugnisrecht/#_Toc473209613
Thank you!

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Hmmm, appreciating there are always 2 sides to every story like this, my counsel, taking your version at face value, is to have a quiet chat with your local copper, as a pre-emptive strike against any future trouble.

Then let the former staffer know that you've checked in with the police, the tax authority and the migration department, and that they've all confirmed that you've provided what is required in terms of the reference, but that you wish her well with her job search otherwise.

Hopefully she would read between the lines with that messaging, and then leave you alone. I wonder if you need to change your locks in the meantime?

Good luck.
Thank you - I did already go to the Polizei, the various authorities and sought initial legal advice, which is why I know I have acted in accordance with the rules, to ensure that I have not unknowingly unfairly treated her in any way. I do indeed have some paranoia that she and her 'friends' will retaliate in some unlawful way...given the way they have behaved is not what I'd expect from rational and reasonable people. Seems like there are all kinds of people on this earth unfortunately.

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Since she worked for you for 5 YEARS, there is no way you can write a poor reference, if she was as bad as you claim she would have been sacked years ago.
I get the feeling there is some bitterness, did she sleep with your husband?
I notice you have a new account for this thread, what is your other handle ?
Troll. Full stop.

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If what you say is true, let her seek legal advice. You've confirmed her employment formally, I would ignore her from now on and keep a record of the harassment
Thank you, and that is the same advice the Polizei informally gave me...

Last edited by roegner; 21.05.2021 at 12:48. Reason: Merging consecutive posts
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Old 21.05.2021, 12:45
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

You‘ve given a reference. I would simply not answer any further correspondence...
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Old 21.05.2021, 12:47
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

You are not obligated to write a letter of reference AFAIK, you can issue her a confirmation of employment. Considering she worked for you that long, one could interpret this as positive. I would not go out of my way to help her based on what you have related, sounds very problematic, keep it civil and hope that she stumbles into the next drama she can devote her attention to.
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Old 21.05.2021, 13:11
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

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You are not obligated to write a letter of reference AFAIK, you can issue her a confirmation of employment. Considering she worked for you that long, one could interpret this as positive. I would not go out of my way to help her based on what you have related, sounds very problematic, keep it civil and hope that she stumbles into the next drama she can devote her attention to.
The OP is obliged to provide a reference letter

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Ja, gemäss Gesetz (Art. 330a OR) kann der Arbeitnehmer vom Arbeitgeber jederzeit ein Zeugnis verlangen.

Das Zeugnis kann während des Arbeitsverhältnisses als Zwischenzeugnis oder erst bei Beendigung der Arbeit als Schlusszeugnis ausgestellt werden.

Die Verjährungsfrist beträgt 10 Jahre und läuft ab dem Zeitpunkt der Beendigung des Arbeitsverhältnisses.

Es wird zwischen Vollzeugnis und Teilzeugnis bzw. Arbeitsbestätigung unterschieden.

Das Vollzeugnis (Art. 330a Abs. 1 OR) gibt Auskunft über:

die Art und die Dauer des Arbeitsverhältnisses
die Leistungen und das Verhalten des Arbeitnehmers

Das Teilzeugnis bzw. die Arbeitsbestätigung beschränkt sich hingegen auf Angaben über die Dauer und Art des Arbeitsverhältnisses (Art. 330a Abs. 2 OR).
https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/ho...tszeugnis.html
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Old 21.05.2021, 13:24
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

Write the letter, run it past a lawyer to ascertain that it won't give her any grounds to sue.
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Old 21.05.2021, 13:37
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

why not provide just a basic factual letter. along the lines of "i confirm that XXX worked for me from date until date as a nanny (until i finally kicked her scrawny ass to the curb)." well. maybe not that last bit.
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Old 21.05.2021, 13:39
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

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why not provide just a basic factual letter. along the lines of "i confirm that XXX worked for me from date until date as a nanny (until i finally kicked her scrawny ass to the curb)." well. maybe not that last bit.
like a confirmation of employment letter?
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Old 21.05.2021, 14:01
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

A reference could be in 3 x parts;

1. confirmation of start, end date, name of the job etc etc.
2. list of the job responsibilities
3. some paragraphs of appreciation

When I've ended the employment of staff for reasons of conduct, they should still receive the work certificate / reference. And, I provide them with 1 & 2.

However, you had issues with their conduct, and theft, and yet your official reason for terminating their employment was that you no longer had a need for them.

If that was your formal reason, (one assumes they were not prosecuted for stealing from you) you could consider providing a certificate with 1,2 and 3 - limiting your appreciation comments to the specific elements of the job role that they did well.
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Old 21.05.2021, 14:02
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

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The OP is obliged to provide a reference letter


https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/ho...tszeugnis.html
Fair enough, but if she can't say anything favourable in good conscience, surely a confirmation of employment is better?

She is not allowed to say anything untrue, after all; not everyone is given to the sort of epistular acrobatics that turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.
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Old 21.05.2021, 16:21
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

I have indeed already provided her with a very factual confirmation of employment letter, stating the duration and the tasks she did, without any mention of performance or behaviour. But she has come back complaining that this is not enough.
Clearly she fails to realise that the trust is well and truly broken, and the goodwill i showed her in not escalating her instances of petty theft, and giving her the benefit of the doubt countless times (my foolishness), and giving her the full notice period (I did not even make her come back to work) rather than immediate termination was for granted!
But I'm very appreciative of all the valuable advice you have posted above, and thank you for that
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Old 21.05.2021, 16:49
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

you may very well ask here to write what she believes is missing in your letter and you may or may not take it into consideration.

I understand it may be hard but certainly both sides feel they lost on this arrangement and everyone tries to salvage the situation.
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Old 21.05.2021, 19:18
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

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you may very well ask here to write what she believes is missing in your letter and you may or may not take it into consideration.
Is this a typo? Do you mean "ask here" (on the Forum) or "ask her" (the former employee)?
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Old 21.05.2021, 19:25
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

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Is this a typo? Do you mean "ask here" (on the Forum) or "ask her" (the former employee)?
of course - should be "ask her" . good catch doropfiz
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Old 21.05.2021, 21:20
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

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of course - should be "ask her" . good catch doropfiz
There is nothing to be gained by not providing a good reference, it's Friday & I believe there is more to the story than we are being told.

The OP believes I am being a troll, she registered her account for this thread, there may be a troll but it is not me I rest my case ma Lord
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Old 21.05.2021, 21:45
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Re: How should I provide a Letter of Reference for a nanny which didn't end on good t

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There is nothing to be gained by not providing a good reference, it's Friday & I believe there is more to the story than we are being told.

The OP believes I am being a troll, she registered her account for this thread, there may be a troll but it is not me I rest my case ma Lord
Yes, there are always two sides.

Tom
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