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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 30180
Experience:  Attorney
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I am a dance studio owner who let a teacher go last season.

Customer Question

I am a dance studio owner who let a teacher go last season. During this most recent dance season, said teacher has contacted my students to try to get them to take private lessons with her, posted negative comments about my dance studio on Facebook and has encouraged my students to leave the studio. Is there anything I can do about her?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

Did you ask the teacher to sign a non-compete agreement while she was working for you? If so, what were the limitations?

Also, what type of negative comments is she posting? Are they things that could be opinions or is she misstating facts?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We did not sign an agreement.

Most of what she is saying is opinion I suppose. She has contacted students though and tried to get them to take lessons with her and leave the studio

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

Without a non-compete agreement, I'm sorry to say, she's allowed to solicit your customers after she leaves your employment. The law generally supports free trade and fair competition, and that's part of doing business. You can avoid an issue with future teachers by asking them to sign an agreement not to solicit your students or accept them as students after leaving your studio. A local attorney could help you create an agreement specific to your studio that you could basically use for all future teachers.

As far as the comments go, it really comes down to what she's saying. If she says "So and so is a bad teacher," that's her opinion. The First Amendment protects her right to say that. If she says "ABC Studio has rats" and you don't, that's defamation of character and grounds for a lawsuit. What it comes down to is whether the statement is based on a misrepresentation of the facts or a false statement.

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