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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default How to Collect Money That You Are Owed for Babysitting Services

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: North Carolina.

    Hi Everyone,

    I really need some advice concerning a babysitting/nannying situation that my SO is currently involved in. For the concealment of our identities, I will refer to my SO as Mary, and the Mother in the situation as Karen. This takes place in North Carolina.
    All the terms of this agreement were contracted in person or via text. There is no signed contract.

    My SO (Mary) was working for a single mother (Karen) to care for 2 of her children, and occasionally all 4 of her children. Karen also has 3 additional nannies who are basically taking care of her children 24/7. Karen needed Mary all the time - mornings, nights, and often on moment's notice. She wasn't just taking care of the kids, but the entire house. Cleaning up after Karen and doing all sorts of chores etc. This was going fine for a few weeks, but she soon realized that the job was not really a babysitting job at all - but more akin to a live-out nanny position. Because this initially was only meant to be a temporary position, Mary felt she was way in over her head, and did not have the time to actually find a permanent job. Karen was not clear about the description of the job at all (I can vouch for this) , as originally hiring Mary to "fill in" and just "babysit". Karen was very disorganized, and instead of clearly delineating the responsibilities from the jump, she began to slowly add to the list of responsibilities, become extremely passive aggressive, and generally disrespectful and rude to Mary.

    It became clear to Mary that this would not work, both due to her new-found understanding of the job, and the toxic relationship that was forming between herself and Karen. So, she confronted Karen about the perceived misunderstanding. She explained to her that the job description was not clear, and that she had not intended to be a live-out nanny, but the occasional babysitter. She was not looking for a full-time job, etc. Karen seemed reasonable enough regarding this concern.
    While Mary did not intend to continue working for Karen, she did offer to fill in babysitting (if no one else could, but mind you, there are 3-4 nannies) while one of the other nannies was out of town. Karen confirmed that she would let Mary know if/when she needed her via a verbal agreement. Mary understood this to be a resignation from the position, albeit only making this offer in the form a professional courtesy. This is where things go off the rails.

    The following Monday, Karen texted Mary, complaining that she had not showed up that morning. Keep in mind that they had an agreement; Karen would contact Mary if/when she needed her to fill in, and they had no contact since this agreement. Karen consequently began to berate Mary over text. Expressing how disappointed she was in her, how unprofessional her decision was, etc. Just generally toxicity. Feeling disrespected, and under that impression that she had technically already resigned, Mary chose not to respond. This was maybe not the best course of action, but it is what occurred.

    On that day, March 5th, Karen cancelled the payment of a $360 check written to Mary on the 2nd of March, payment for the work between Feb 17th and March 2nd. The check bounced from Mary's account on March 7th. Mary immediately attempted to reach out to Karen to resolve the issue, but was vehemently, and repeatedly ignored until Friday the 9th of March, when Karen arbitrarily decides she will not speak about the issue until the following Monday. During this period, Mary's account was overdrawing due to the negative balance from the bounced check. Karen showed no interest in resolving the issue, and no intention of making good on the check, and absolutely no cooperation in any form. When Monday comes, Mary is blown off all day again. When Mary follows up with Karen seeking some explanation, she makes more excuses, and in fact, sends one of her other nannies home early as a scapegoat. On this day Karen also likely received the notice of a bad check via certified mail from Mary.

    Mary has been given no explanation as to any of Karen's reasons for non-payment, but we can only assume it is due to the resignation itself, clearly of which there was a misunderstanding. Now Karen is refusing to pay for work done in the past. We are left with no choice but to take legal action, but Karen is doubling down - on last contact via text, she actually threatens to sue Mary for breach of contract, claiming that she is owed damages in the form of missed time from work, etc. It is completely obvious this woman is only trying to hurt Mary and just get out of paying her. Mary was completely dumbfounded that anyone could be so spiteful, and we also saw no reason why Karen should be able to get out of paying Mary for work that she had already done, regardless of whether or not Karen sued. We know for a fact that that Karen has 3 other nannies, and did not actually miss time from work. But we don't know if Karen actually has a leg to stand on, even though it seems obvious she is just blowing smoke. There was no formal/signed contract in this situation, and the original agreement itself was really by-the cuff. That being said, can my SO get justice? The was no type of termination clause or similar in their agreement, can quitting this way actually come back to bite her? Also keep in mind, she was not properly informed of the full job description.

    TL;DR: My SO was babysitting for a single mother who intentionally bounced her pay check after a perceived resignation, and subsequently ignored her. The mother will not pay my SO what is owed, and is now threatening to sue for breach of contract in response to a bad check notice. We don't know how legit this verbal/text contract could be, or who has the stronger case. Please help us find justice buy committing to the right path forward.

    My SO just wants the money that she is owed from the past and to never talk to this woman again, but this woman seems determined to make her life hell to prevent her from getting it. This is causing us a lot of stress and financial strain, and hopefully there are still some good people out there who believe in justice and would be willing to help. Any potential paths or options will be explored and greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lake Chapala
    Posts
    2,874

    Default Re: A Babysitting Debacle - Payment Cancelled, Mother Threatens Suit. Please Help (Nc

    Small claims court.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,746

    Default Re: A Babysitting Debacle - Payment Cancelled, Mother Threatens Suit. Please Help (Nc

    Yep Small Claims and a wage claim. https://www.labor.nc.gov/workplace-r...wage-complaint

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: A Babysitting Debacle - Payment Cancelled, Mother Threatens Suit. Please Help (Nc

    For those suggesting small claims suit - Mary is in the process of carrying this out. She first mailed the bad check notice as certified post. Then will be disputing this in small claims. One of our largest concerns is whether or not this could backfire if Karen also sues on her basis of BoC. Basically, would this be worth it? Worst case, Karen could just eat up all that wage money in forcing Mary to pay more lawyer/court fees, essentially wasting all her time and money.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    23,852

    Default Re: A Babysitting Debacle - Payment Cancelled, Mother Threatens Suit. Please Help (Nc

    So what else do you suggest? There's no process anyone can guarantee that will lock Karen's hands and prevent her from taking any action.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: A Babysitting Debacle - Payment Cancelled, Mother Threatens Suit. Please Help (Nc

    My main question is regarding the legitimacy of Karen's grounds to Sue.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,746

    Default Re: A Babysitting Debacle - Payment Cancelled, Mother Threatens Suit. Please Help (Nc

    There was no written contract, texts are not going to hold up in court and North Carolina is an employment at will state. I'd say that your S.O. has little to worry about losing a lawsuit to her previous employer. There is nothing you can do to stop her previous employer from suing her.

    Were taxes withheld from your S.O.?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: A Babysitting Debacle - Payment Cancelled, Mother Threatens Suit. Please Help (Nc

    Thanks a lot for your response. When you say that NC is an employment at-will state - do you mean that my SO can basically quit whenever she wants with no recourse?

    Also as far as taxes, I do not believe that there were withheld. I can confirm that later.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,746

    Default Re: A Babysitting Debacle - Payment Cancelled, Mother Threatens Suit. Please Help (Nc

    Yes employment at will means you can quit or be terminated at will.

    If the employer isn't making the proper deductions and paying the proper taxes for your wife she likely isn't doing it for her other 3 nannies. She would also, with that many employees, be required to have workers' compensation coverage. There are likely several other things she, as an employer, are required to do that she didn't do. She does not want to walk into a court and have to admit that she failed to do those things under oath.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,744

    Default Re: A Babysitting Debacle - Payment Cancelled, Mother Threatens Suit. Please Help (Nc

    This is simple.

    Mary sues Karen for the $360 plus bank fees. When she wins her court costs are added.

    If Mary is afraid to sue Karen because of something Karen MIGHT do (and we have no clue as to what Karen is capable of nor of whether she is persuasive enough to convince a judge) then Mary just kisses the money good bye, gets on with her life and learns a few life lessons from the experience.

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