Is it legal if my-employer IS threatening legal action if I speak about them to families that we served while I was employed?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal if my-employer IS threatening legal action if I speak about them to families that we served while I was employed?

Worked for a non-profit, using that loosely, organization that terminated me after I began to bring up concerns about the treatment of the individuals that we served, including myself and co-workers. After being terminated I, along with others that have been let go or left on their own, have been served with a cease and desist notice or have been threatened with one if we continue to engage in communications with families of the individuals that we served and developed tremendous relationships with. What rights does the company have and what rights do I/we have in regards to this matter? Do they have any legal right to provide me with this type of notice even though I am no longer employed by them?

Asked on March 4, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they do have the right to send you a notice telling you to cease and desist from engaging in conduct that is either or both of defamation (if your allegations may not be all factually true) and/or intereference with their contractual relationships with their customers. What they can't do is stop you from reporting wrongdoing to the relevant government agencies (e.g. the attorney general, if you think is fraud; or any government agencies which pay for their services; or agencies which generally monitor or license what they do). If you feel they did something wrong, don't be a "vigilante" and try to speak directly to the individuals--bring it to the government and let them deal with it.
And note that if you signed any sort of confidentiality agreement at work, you must also honor its terms.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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