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Thank you for contacting our JA team for guidance, Lorraine.
Please let me know what state you were working in. Were you owed a retention bonus by contract?
I see. It sounds as though you would have a solid case of defamation against the owner of the franchise as long as you can prove that the statements were false. Your best option is to seek an employment law attorney in your area since this occurred in an employment law context to determine your best course of action; ie, whether you should file suit to recover damages or merely send a cease and desist letter so the defamation will stop.
The KS state bar association's website is a good place to begin your search and should include low cost and pro bono legal services in your area.
Please let me know if you need additional information.
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