Can a 1099 contractor/consultant contact clients of a former employer after being terminated?

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Can a 1099 contractor/consultant contact clients of a former employer after being terminated?

I terminated a contractor on 08/03. On 08/04, she contacted some clients – some by email and some by phone. She claimed I had mistreated her, and either asked them to request a refund or said she would ask me to give refunds. She also said that we had “falsified” our service offerings. The problem is: all I have is an email from the contractor, stating she dd this. I don’t have any evidence from any clients stating she did this, save one client who did say the ex-contractor did contact her by phone. But all he says is she quit due to irreconcilable differences and that she’d ask me to refund.

Asked on August 12, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may have what is known in some states as tortious interference with business claim against the ex-1099 employee.  The factors that make up the legal cause of action vary from state to state and are obviously situation specific.  Also the damages necessary to have resulted from her actions may indeed be a necessary "factor" to bringing the claim. Damaging to your reputation, though is definitely a concern here.  I would speak with an attorney in your are a and start with bringing a Temporary Injunction against her to prohibit her from talking or contacting your clients in any way.  Where you go from there is up to you and your lawyer.  Good luck.


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