You Won’t Gain Respect If You Allow Someone to Mistreat You

Resolving Issues on the Job by Marta Perrone

Weekly in my career development class for domestic employees, we review the various issues that have occurred in the workplace to see how to better resolve them in the future.

Many of the housekeepers [share] stories of being mistreated. The biggest concern is that they are not spoken to with respect. There is no question, that housekeepers, along with many other private service individuals, receive the brunt of abuse by employers unlike most other settings where [there is an] HR Department to ensure such conduct is avoided. Interestingly, the employees often simply accept such treatment because they have no other choice….until, of course, they find another place of employment.

I tell the domestics in my classes that [to be respected you must first] demand rrespect. If you sit back and allow someone to mistreat you, then of course, the behavior will be repeated.

[Domestic workers] must sit down with their employer quietly and explain things properly. It is best for the domestic worker to say the following to an employer that insists on screaming and yelling as opposed to quietly instructing [them] “Mrs. X, while I understand your frustration when something is not done the way you like it, for us to have a good working mutually satisfying relationship, it is necessary that you speak to me in a civil manner. I would ask you to either leave me notes of instruction or that we please have a weekly (and if necessary daily) session in the beginning to review your wants and dislikes until I am fully acclimated to your home and way of doing things.”

It takes time for [both] parties [in a working relationship] to get used to [working with one another]. Every home is different and standards are not the same. When new employees begin as household workers, there must be a training period. The best way to begin is to have a household manual detailing every responsibility on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis so that there are no misunderstandings. Then, someone needs to go through the house carefully with the new employee to fully understand exactly how to implement each function.

If [employers] want [their] home to run smoothly and their employee to know what to do, [they] must put in the time initially to ensure the best performance.


  1. If you allow yourself to be a door mat you will be stepped on. I have a friend who doesn't have a job description except she is asked to do everything (and I mean everything) for the family from cooking for parents, trimming hedges, picking up dog poop in backyard, you name it. My other nanny friends always tell her "If you allow yourself to be a door mat…" Things will not improve for her since she won't stand up for herself.

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