I’m doing a cleaning job for a school under an employer. The contract ended and they lost the account and the school wants to hire me directly to stay there because they love the way I do my job.

But my old boss is making it seem like I’m stealing the account from him and he's saying I can't work for them because he did business with them and that I can't work with them for a year because I used to work for him. Then he also said I signed a year contract with him that I'm definitely sure I did not sign and that the only way I can stay is if they sign the contract with him again.

I honestly don’t know what to do legally about this I have a family to support and this could really help us.

  • 1
    Where is that happening? – Greendrake Aug 4 '18 at 3:22
  • Don't sign the contract with him under presssure. Also require from him - in writing to be provided by a certain date - a copy of the signed contract he alleges. If you provide where you are we can give better advice - based on what you have said he most likely can't stop you - even if there is a non-compete it may well not be enforceable and employment agreements don't generally prevent you from resigning - but the state/country matters. (In New Zealand they could not stop you even as a general employee- and there are additional provisions specifically to protect cleaners in your setup) – davidgo Aug 4 '18 at 20:03

my old boss is making it seem like I’m stealing the account from him

To whom is he conveying that, and in which terms is he doing so? If (1) it is to the school, (2) via false statements of fact, and (3) his misrepresentations deter the school from hiring you, your old boss might be liable for defamation with special damages.

he’s saying I can’t work for them because he did business with them and that I can’t work with them for a year because I used to work for him

The only way it would be true is if you agreed to a non-compete clause. Usually that is done in writing (via email or by signing a contract). The employer can always allege that the agreement was verbal, although that is hard to prove.

Based on the limited information you provide, a civil action in court (or grievance in the corresponding Labor administrative agency) seems premature because it is unclear whether the old boss is factually hindering your employment prospects at the school already.

For the time being, you may want to (1) request your old boss a copy of the contract he alleges you signed; (2) secure written evidence of the school's interest in hiring you; and (3) establish the reason why the employer lost the account (I presume you mean "the contract") with the school. As a precaution against defamatory falsehoods, make sure that henceforth all your communications with the old boss/employer are in writing (as opposed to oral).

From personal experience, I know that an unethical employer can (and does) resort to defamatory falsehoods in his attempt to remedy his inability to persuade his employee to decline an offer of employment elsewhere ... in my case, coincidentally, a school (the University of Michigan) for which I had performed work on behalf of the employer.

I sued my former employer in pro per (meaning that I represented myself in court, without an attorney), and currently this matter is pending review in the U.S. Supreme Court. But litigation is difficult and very frustrating because many judges are tremendously corrupt. Thus, hopefully your employment prospect moves forward without having to bring legal action against the old boss for any unfair and deceptive acts of his.

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