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Brother throws a fit when sister imposes 'strict dress code' on the au pair. AITA?

Brother throws a fit when sister imposes 'strict dress code' on the au pair. AITA?


"AITA for telling my sister to stop being so strict with her au pair?"


So my (23M) sister (29F) has an au pair from Britain, Stella (19F). She’s a very nice and admittedly very beautiful girl. We live in Germany. She’s been here for about 10 months and I would consider us to be friends.

My sister very obviously does not like Stella. My brother in law (32M) is the one who insisted on an au pair because my sister wanted help with child care, and he thought an au pair was the best choice.

This is because Stella can teach their kids English. An au pair is cheaper and the culture exchange benefits both the family and the au pair. Additionally, his own sister was an au pair and she loved it.

My sister will often complain about Stella, calling her a show off for teaching the kids french in addition to english. She calls her lazy for only working the hours allowed by the government and she thinks that Stella is vain for caring about her appearance.

Everyone else in the family loves her and my mother can’t bear the thought of her leaving in two months. Stella has never complained about my sister, but it’s obvious that she is a terrible host.

A few days ago, my sister brought over her children to our home for a family meal and she did not bring Stella. My mother asked Stella to come so she was confused, and my sister said that she was enforcing a ‘dress code’ and Stella had no clothes that fit the dress code.

My mother pressed her for more information and turns out, my sister didn’t want Stella to be wearing skirts during her working hours and all of her trousers were in the wash. She claims it’s because she can’t run after the children in a skirt but I’ve seen her do it before.

I said it was absurd to restrict Stella’s clothing. Stella is always very modest so perhaps it would make sense if she wasn’t, but she is. My mother was annoyed because Stella is leaving soon and she wants to see her more, and I was annoyed because she’s just being mean for no reason.

I told my sister she was being unnecessarily strict and she needed to leave Stella alone because this isn’t the only unusual rule she has for her. She doesn’t allow stella to go clubbing at all, doesn’t allow Stella to wear make up in the house, doesn’t let her call my BIL for a ride if she’s out etc. IMO, she’s horrible to her.

My sister called me an AH and told me to mind my own business. I don’t think I was an AH but my sister said she has the right to make the rules as stella’s ‘employer’. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA. Stella must have great reserves of patience. I’d have told your controlling and unkind sister to stuff her job and gone home months ago. Your sister is doing nothing for Anglo-German relationships and is treating this girl very badly. She needs a lesson in being respectful to others. Her husband and your mother might pull her up on her behaviour.

I was an au pair for 6 months and my host family were nice, I’m still in contact with them decades later. …. my parents would have stepped in fast had I complained to them about poor treatment. I hope Stella is I hope enjoying herself somewhat.

The OP responded here:


I’m honestly surprised she hasn’t left. She told me she likes to see things through till the end. Honestly, besides language learning which she loves, I don’t think she is having much fun. She’s told me that she made a whole list of things she’s gonna do when she’s back in the UK.


NTA. Her treatment of Stella really doesn't sound fair. It almost sounds like a jealousy problem, either to do with the kids or maybe BIL. Maybe she thinks having another woman around is a threat to her marriage? Even if her fears aren't completely unfounded, from your pov it doesn't make you the asshole to point out something that seems unreasonable.


NTA ! Stella is of legal age and can do what she wants in her free time! Enforcing a dress code and forbidding her husband to pick her up only shows one thing. Your sister is deathly jealous, also of her looks and language skills!

Is she afraid that Stella will immediately have a quickie in the car with her husband or that he might see too much leg if she wears a skirt? Besides, you know very well that slavery is forbidden in our home country Germany.


NTA - Stella is 19; according to German law, she is a full adult. Your sister can't forbid her to go clubbing in her free time. Stella is her empoyee and not a slave or her child. And she can't come up with rules nillywilly. And your sister is a full fledged Miststück.


NTA your sister is a piece of work. Stella knows she can leave, right? And she has her passport in her own possession? Not locked in Stella's safe or anything?


Your sister seems jealous of Stella. And has a bunch of insecurities that she blames Stella for. Sis should work on her issues.


Is she an evil step-sister and is the au pair Cindarella? Was the family meal a ball? NTA, it sounds like she is being mean and is maybe jealous of the au pair. Complaining that your kids are getting taught additional things, especially something as important as another language, is weird.


I'll bet cashy money the contract has exit clauses for both parties. Surely there cannot be a legal contract that says you cannot leave a job, unless you're in the military. Even if she ups and quits, what will happen? Nothing. She'll get another au pair job because au pairs are in short supply.

So, what do you think here? Who is in the wrong? If you could give the OP any advice regarding the au pair, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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