May I call a customer of my ex-employer to inquire why they haven’t paid their bill which is delaying me getting paid my commission?

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May I call a customer of my ex-employer to inquire why they haven’t paid their bill which is delaying me getting paid my commission?

If it is considered confidential information am I violating anything by inquiring?

Asked on November 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It may be confidential or proprietary information for this purpose: a business's customer list is often considered proprietary, or protected, information. More to the point, though, it is unlikely that this will help you--they don't have to answer you, for example; or if they answer you, you don't necessarily know if they are telling you the truth. Since there is little or  no value to you in doing this, you should not do it. Not only might you be using proprietary information, but if anything you say or do causes this customer to stop buying products or services from your employer, your employer may try to sue you for tortious interference with a contract--i.e. for the value of the business lost.


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