And that raises an additional issue: Muneton was lucky to be able to trade up, employer-wise, the way she did. Contrast her story with that of Patricia Francois, who’d worked as a full time nanny in Westchester County for $300 a week, then got a job in Manhattan which paid $500 for 50 hours a week. She had options that would have been more lucrative, but fell in love with the child, and ignored the warnings of the last caregiver that the husband was difficult. A New York Magazine article describes what transpired:
"What happened next is a matter of fierce dispute—and the subject of a lawsuit now working its way through federal court. In Francois’s version of the story, the husband came home in a bad mood and began berating his daughter for not practicing her lines for a holiday skit. Even after he took her to another room, Francois could hear the girl crying.
'Mr. Matthew, stop it!' she shouted.
'It’s my child!' he said.
'I don’t care!' she said. 'I’m taking care of her too!'
She was about to leave when she overheard him tell his daughter she was going to have to do without her nanny from now on. Hearing the girl’s sobs, Francois went to comfort her, and that’s when, she claims, things escalated. According to Francois, her boss called her a “stupid black bitch” and told her he hoped she died “a horrible death.” She shouted back and he slapped her, she claims. When Francois tried to call 911, he grabbed her hand and twisted it. She fell, he lost his balance, too, and then he punched her in the torso and the face. She struggled to get free and rushed out the door.
A doorman helped Francois down to the lobby, where she sat on a bench, tears streaking her face. The police came and filled out a report, describing a bruise below her left eye and a bruise and cut on her left hand. 'I was inclined to arrest him that evening,' an officer later said in a deposition, 'but … Ms. Francois vehemently did not want to press charges at that time.' With the mother away, she was afraid the girl would wind up in the custody of child welfare if the father was arrested.
A lawyer who lives in the building walked into the lobby and saw Francois. 'My initial reaction [was] that this woman, poor woman, had been mugged out on the street,' he later testified in a deposition. He brought her up to his apartment, gave her a glass of water, then took her to the ER at Roosevelt Hospital."
The couple claimed Francois assaulted the husband. That strains credulity, particularly since she also played the reporter a series of voice messages from the husband, wife, and daughter begging her to come back.
And it was Francois’ efforts to publicize her case and organize nannies that led to the landmark New York legislation being passed:
"After fourteen years as a domestic worker, Francois has little to show for her efforts. No savings, no job, no leads. In recent days, though, she’s had reason to feel optimistic. Over the past six years, she’s made some 25 trips to Albany to lobby for the Bill of Rights. When the State Senate passed it last week, she was looking down from the balcony, tears in her eyes. “It will be reversing decades and decades and decades of injustice,” she says. Now she had something to show for her years of hard work, something more than the photographs of the children she helped raise."