How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joseph Your Own Question
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
Joseph is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a former employee that I would like to sue. I have a

This answer was rated:

I have a former employee that I would like to sue. I have a tax preparation business and the employe in question worked in my business for the last tax season, she was fired after other coworkers came forward and reported inappropriate behavior from her towards the customers, she was badmouthing the business and handing her cell phone number to customers.
This new tax season this former employee has been sending letters to my customers, calling them as well. Wich means she stole the database from my office and took it so she could contact our customers.
How do I sue her, who is the appropiate person to hire for this issue?
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

Did you have this employee sign an agreement that prohibited her from giving out her personal cell phone number or from contacting former clients after she left the business?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I honestly did not make her sign any contract, it was just verbaly expressed what I expected, but that is not my only problem, she is mailing letter to clients she did not even saw, which means she stole the information from the computer. Can I do something about it?

Hello Elizabeth,

Yes, you can file an injunction against her to stop her use of the trade secret protected information in your computer system, which includes customer and client lists.

You can also sue her for the theft of the trade secrets, including statutory damages for the loss caused to you and the unjust enrichemnt (money that she made through the theft) from her.

You should hire an intellectual property/ employment law attorney to file suit against your former employer.

Some good starting points are:

I suggest that you try to get an attorney to represent you on a contingency basis, so you would not have to pay the attorney unless you receive a settlement or a verdict in your favor.

Unfortunately, it could be difficult getting an attorney interested on a contingency basis, depending on the finances and resources of your ex-employee, since many attorneys will be less interested in suing clients when they cannot receive a substantial judgment against them (and actually collect it).

Also, prior to retaining an attorney to file an injunction on your behalf, you could also send a 'cease and desist' letter informing her to stop her illegal contact of clients from your client list.

You could threaten her with criminal contact, since trade secret theft is illegal under United States law, although it'd be unlikely that they would pursue a prosecution against your employee in this case. (Trade secret theft criminal cases normally deal with the theft of proprietary information that is worth (at least) millions of dollars).

For reference about the cause of action see California Civil Code Section 3426 to 3426.11, available here:
Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you