Q: A number of neighborhood friends who are looking for a babysitter for the upcoming fall semester have recently contacted me regarding my babysitter. Unfortunately, I am not satisfied with the way the babysitter runs her place. No warm welcome awaits the children; she chats on the phone a good portion of the workday, takes care of her household chores, mixes up the babies’ bottles and pacifiers too often and basically ignores their continuous wailing. In general, I get the impression that the babies interest her somewhat less than the salary she receives for caring for them.
How can I respond to the mothers’ inquiries?
A: Before you reply regarding the babysitter, you must check her out properly. Reassess the situation to verify that she is actually lax in her job, and that the babies are suffering because of her slackness.
When you are absolutely sure of it, you are permitted to respond with the minimal details: “She is indeed a special woman and attends to her job, though there may be a lack of warmth and devotion.”
This reply is permitted as long as the conditions of lashon hara l’to’eles, as delineated by the Chofetz Chaim, are met. It is especially important to avoid speaking out of hatred or revenge.
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