Is My Nanny an Employee Under Connecticut Law?

Mar 13 2024

Josh Goodbaum: Hi, Amanda.

Amanda DeMatteis: Hi, Josh. What are we gonna talk about today?

Goodbaum: Well, I wanna talk about your kids – and not exactly in the way you would think. You have one-year-old and three-year-old daughters who are wonderful, and you’ve got a husband, and your life is full. How do you make it all work with your job and your kids and your husband?

Well, you’ve got help. You’ve got a whole web of help – I know from knowing you. You have intimate relationships with those people – maybe because they are family members or because they are people who feel like family members or just because they spend so much time in your house seeing you as you really are in those unguarded moments. And I know you’re not alone.

So many of our viewers are busy parents, and the only way they make it work is because they have assistance. But, despite the intimate relationship they have with those people who help them out in their house, they might not be thinking about the employment relationship they have potentially with those people in their house.

So, what do our viewers need to know about the employment relationship they might have with the people who help take care of their kids?

DeMatteis: Oh, Josh. That old tale goes, “It takes a village,” right? And it really, really does. There are so many people who are very hardworking and also trying to take care of kids at home as well. And so they have these people that are coming into their homes. And outside of whatever title that they have at work, the title of mommy, the title of daddy, or whatever else, now you also have this title potentially of employer.

Under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, which is our Connecticut law that prohibits discrimination and retaliation in the workplace, in order for you to be an eligible employer who needs to enforce these laws in the workplace, you need only one employee. That could be your nanny. That could be your au pair. That could be somebody that’s just coming in and helping you on a few days, taking care of the kids or taking care of something else at home. So, we add yet another title to our belts, right?

And as an employer, you need to treat these people in your home just the way you would expect to be treated at work. The law is the same, whether you’re in a law firm, whether you work for a hedge fund, or whether you work for a medical facility; it doesn’t matter.

So, you might be thinking, “Well, jeez. That’s funny because I have such a different relationship with the person that watches my children. You know, they’re helping in the kitchen, they’re changing my kids’ diapers, and I have to afford them with the same type of protection that I expect at work?” And the simple answer to that question is “Yes.”

Now, listen, guys: If you’re already treating these folks that are in your house the way you want to be treated, you’re very likely already complying with state law, and that’s great. But you should think about the anti-discrimination laws, the anti-retaliation laws, the fact that you need to work in an environment that’s free from sexual harassment. That also includes in your home where you are the employer. Maybe you’re having work done on your house, and a contractor is making your nanny feel uncomfortable, and your nanny comes up to you and says, “Hey, Amanda or Josh,” or whoever it may be, “this guy’s making me feel kind of uncomfortable. He’s making sexual comments to me.” You have an obligation as that person’s employer to provide a work environment to them that’s free from that type of conduct.

So, you have a responsibility. They’re not just telling you as a friend. They really are telling you as an employer. The same might be: what if someone is living with a disability? Maybe they need some time off from work. If you are an employer as defined under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, you have to go through the interactive process with this person – to see if they could still continue to do the work in your home that you expect them to do while also affording them with some type of reasonable accommodation to help them do that, given whatever disability they may have. The same goes for maybe needing some time away from work.

So, I don’t tell you this just to add to that pile that just never seems to go down. But I do tell you to just be cognizant of it and make sure that the people in your home are being treated in a way that you would want to be treated – number one. And number two – to be compliant with state law.

Of course, if you ever have questions about this, reach out and give us a call. Happy to talk through any circumstance you find yourself in.

Goodbaum: Great information, Amanda. Really important for everybody to think about. Thank you so much for watching, and we’ll see you next time.

Share this Post

amanda dematteis discussing the employee rights of a nanny in connecticut

About the Author

Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C.

Advocating for Employees
since 1977

Best Lawyers

Let Us Review Your Case

    We will respond to your message promptly. Although we will keep your message strictly confidential, please note that contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

    Client Experiences

    During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. —J.C., New Haven, CT

    You will never meet a more knowledgeable and compassionate professional than Steve Fitzgerald. My employment situation was very complex, and Attorney Fitzgerald kept me focused while remaining extremely adept and “thinking on his feet.” Should the need present itself again, I would never seek anyone else’s counsel regarding employment issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. — J.R., New Haven, CT

    Nina Pirrotti provided outstanding legal advice and was trustworthy, dependable, and responsive. From the start, I was confident that her knowledge and experience would obtain favorable results. On a more personal note, I enjoyed working with her and her staff and felt I was included in every part of the process. The dedication, concern, and interest in me as a client was greatly appreciated, and Nina has earned my highest recommendation. — J.H., Monroe, CT

    I recently found myself in need of a lawyer in handling a dispute with my former employer. I was fortunate to retain Josh Goodbaum as my legal counsel. His legal skills knowledge and professionalism shone through in every step of the process resulting in a very positive result. I highly recommend Josh if you find yourself in need of legal counsel. — S.R., Guilford, CT

    When I go to a lawyer for advice, I am usually anxious, particularly the first meeting. Amanda DeMatteis was clear in describing my options and immediately set me at ease. Realistic assessment is important, and Amanda was clear as to how to set up the case and the direction she felt we should go. I had total confidence in her abilities and knew I was being well represented against a large corporation. More importantly, we were successful! —N.M., Haddam, CT

    Advocating for Employees since 1977

    American Law Institute Super Lawyers American College of Trial Lawyers Best Lawyers The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
    Back to Top
    (203) 815-1716