Employment Law

Tort claims against an independent contractor by her boss…

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Tort claims against an independent...
Tort claims against an independent contractor by her boss

Ms. 666 has worked for a physical therapist (PT) for many years.

Ms. 666 is fired for good cause. Then she attempts to steal all of PT's clients. PT wants to sue Ms. 666 for Intentional Interference with propective economic advantage, along with a bunch of other... Read full answer
Tort claims against an independent contractor by her boss

Ms. 666 has worked for a physical therapist (PT) for many years.

Ms. 666 is fired for good cause. Then she attempts to steal all of PT's clients. PT wants to sue Ms. 666 for Intentional Interference with propective economic advantage, along with a bunch of other claims.
There was no signed non-competition agreement.

It appears that Ms. 666 was an independent contractor and not an employee. Does that or does that not eliminate PT's claims against her?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
10/2/2012
Employment Lawyer: Isaac, Esq., Attorney replied 6 years ago
Isaac, Esq.
Isaac, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 41,918
Experience: I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.
Verified

Thank you for your question.

To answer your question directly, this does not appear to be 'Intentional Interference' unless the individual who was terminated was intentionally defaming the name of the past employer. California does not generally uphold non-compete agreements except in very rare instances, and if there was nothing written down where the past employee agreed to not solicit past clients, contacting them is not a violation. Similarly, if those clients chose to later follow the independent contractor, it is not a violation. It would be a violation if the comments to clients were defamatory or if the lists used to contact those clients were proprietary and confidential to the original employer. Beyond that, without a non-compete, it is not enough here to claim 'Intentional Interference". The employer can try it, but the courts would likely see this as natural competition and dismiss it. The fact that the individual was an independent contractor has nothing to do with the cause of action, as the contractor is under no contract to NOT solicit or contract past customers.

Good luck.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago


Thank you Dmitry.


 


So whether Ms. 666 was an independent contractor or not is completely irrelevant? So if she was an I.C. and had signed something, then she might be found liable?

Employment Lawyer: Isaac, Esq., Attorney replied 6 years ago

Thank you for your follow-up, Richard.

Correct on both counts. The status of the past employee or I.C. is not related to whether or not she is engaged in interference or is engaging lawfully, but what matters is if the individual signed a document that forbids that individual from competing or soliciting past customers for herself.

Good luck.

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