Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Friendships with parents - advice please....


emasi8624
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am the owner/manager of a nursery and just in the process of amending our policies around staff befriending parents after a situation occurred yesterday.....

 

Basically 2 of my staff members befriended a parent whose child used to attend our setting around 6 months ago. I found out that they had been meeting up outside nursery and wasn't particularly pleased about it. They are also friends with her on Facebook. I reminded then several times about our policy surrounding social networking and about confidentiality and professional lines being blurred. But didn't go as far as to enforce any specific RULES about friendships outside of nursery. Now I am regretting it.....

 

This parent left nursery owing a significant amount of money which we are now taking her to small claims court over. This has stayed confidential with only management aware of this. I am aware that the other 2 staff still meet with her. Last night the parent wrote all sorts of horrible things all over facebook about me after receiving the court summons, threatening me and bad mouthing my business. She then went on to post a lot of personal information about me being pregnant and about the baby's father leaving me - this information must have come from one of the staff members. And one of them actually clicked that they liked it!!

 

Besides this being extremely upsetting for me, it is terrible for my business which I have worked extremely hard to build up over the years. Plus if staff are so free to share my personal information with a parent, what's to say they wouldn't share information about families using our service and they are not gossiping about them.

 

I am trying to figure the best way for me to deal with this without going in all guns blazing, and to amend our policies and update contracts to make this "friendships" issue and social networking policy is extremely clear and what disciplinary procedures will be followed if it is breeched.

 

This is not the first time I have had issues with this with these staff, it was only a few weeks ago that one had approached a parent asking for a job on the days she is not at nursery (which could potentially come with its own headaches)

 

I would love to hear how you all feel about practitioners having friendships with parents, and as a manager what policies you have in place.

 

Also any advice, thoughts etc on the above would be much appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sure others will be along with sound advice re your policies etc and how you proceed but I just want to send you a virtual hug....how awful for you to have your private life plastered all over facebook in this way.

 

Can you report the page to facebook ? Is there a way of reporting malicious content?

 

You must feel so betrayed by your staff :(

 

Anyway, take care of yourself and hope this is resolved soon.

Sue

Link to comment
Share on other sites

do you belong to pre-school learning alliance - you could get some advice from lawcall who are part of the pre-school learning alliance set up ,otherwise i would say try acas - what these two staff are doing is breaking confidentiality and as you say you don't really know what they are actually saying to this parent.

need to work quickly on this i think - not nice that you can't trust your staff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HI

I just had a quick look at facebook and if you go to the settings there is advice there about reporting abusive posts and if she is running down your business then you may want to consider doing this at least.

She left owing money and so she has broken the terms of your agreement for her to then publicly criticise you for trying to get monies owed is not fair and if she is doing that in strongly worded posts on FB then surely they can be classed as abusive

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there,

 

Thanks for you replies. Yes its a horrible feeling, as I feel hugely betrayed as I go above and beyond for them.

 

I have reported the posts to facebook and they have been removed, plus my friend who notified me of it reported her page so I think her whole account has been taken down for now. But nothing to stop her just opening another. Im frustrated that the parent would do this knowing she is in the wrong for not paying her fees or sticking to payment arrangements despite me trying for months to resolve it, but the main issue is the staff.

 

I have spoken to our Early Years Consultancy team from the council and they are going to visit me tomorrow and help me address all the different issues and pull out the legal parts of where I stand with it too. I am keen to get it sorted asap, especially because I will go on maternity leave at the end of the year and I don't feel comfortable knowing there are staff who cannot be trusted, especially when I am not there to keep an eye on everything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your focus needs to be on maintaining confidentiality.

Staff will inevitably sometimes be friends or family of nursery parents. Some will be established before the parent even has a child and you can't put a halt on that kind of friendship.

What you can do is make sure that your confidentiality policy is very clear and that it covers adults in the setting as well as children and their families. You can also make the consequences of breaking that confidentiality very clear.

I don't think that fact that this parent owes you money is relevant to the situation, although I completely understand that this makes it feel more of a betrayal. What is relevant is the personal information gained while working in your setting has been inappropriately shared and it is perfectly reasonable to follow disciplinary procedures to deal with that.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will go on maternity leave at the end of the year and I don't feel comfortable knowing there are staff who cannot be trusted, especially when I am not there to keep an eye on everything.

 

Have you decided whether to take disciplinary action for their breach of confidentiality?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it is very tricky when it comes to friendships and I do not want to be seen to be trying to control what people do out of work, I do however want to feel secure that all areas of confidentiality are covered and there are no gaps. I have just read a previous thread regarding facebook, and one regarding babysitting which had some great advice and points which I will use to inform my policies and discussions with staff. We are only a small nursery with 8 staff so something like this makes things very awkward. Ugggh such a good start to the week as well....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

I didn't want to read and run

I will be quick now but need to give it more thought

One thing I would say though,NDNA will be able to offer you legal advise on this if you ring them ( assuming you are a member!)

Both re. Employment and other matters

Use the forum for support too - you are never alone x

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't want to just read and run.....oh crossed posts with Greenfinch - who has actually said more or less what I was going to......

Really hope that you get some sound advice from your LA team......and yes I would definitely be taking some disciplinary action....

I'm not a FB user - and I'm thanking all that is holy for my 'mature' staff team......

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi I do think FB can be the bane of people's lives.

I hope you get the correct advice to enable you all to move forward, taking whatever actions are appropriate.

Confidentiality is incredible important and any procedures in place must be stringently applied which includes, staff and families.

Having a open and transparent policy enables everybody to be made quite clear on what and what is not acceptable.

Please take care of yourself, I'm sure you really don't need all this stress.

Fx

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How awful for you you have my sympathy and virtual support too. We have a social networking policy whereas staff are requested not to befriend parents via FB or to discuss any issues or anything else work related on their Fb page . I make sure all parents as well as staff are fully aware of this and parents and staff have adhered to this. We live in a small village and some parents were my friends before their children started so I don't delete them but don't discuss or make reference to work related issues. Staff can accept friend requests once the child has left if they so wish.

I do hope this gets sorted effectively and quickly for you , how concerning that your staff have such little respect for you and their place of work. Sending big hugs x

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thinking of you - confidentiality, disciplinary and a deep breath....are they suitable to be your staff if they have no understanding of how to uphold the practices of your setting?!

 

Been there, got the t-shirt xxxxx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's awful :-( even if you had a policy that says they can't be friends on facebook I don't see how you can stop them being friends in 'real life'. This could have happened even if they weren't friends on Facebook unfortunately. I think the main thing is they have obviously broken confidentiality and have totally lost your trust, we had a staff member who although not friends with any staff or parents on Facebook had an open profile and I came across a post where she was slating us and the nursery - it was an immediate sackable offence. I would make sure in the staff handbook it goes through the main confidentiality, code of conduct etc and get staff to sign to say they have read and again, we get them to resign this periodically. So sorry that you've had to go through all this xx

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)