What can I do about a worker who has been badmouthing me and my business?
Question Details: I have owned a beauty shop for the past 17 years. Recently, I was hospitalized and a beautician who has worked in my shop, who is also a family member, stole my clientele and influenced other booth renters to follow her into her new shop. Legally, what can I do? She has slandered me in a small town, maliciously gossiped about me and in general has been rotten. She has not started her own business as of yet and is still in my space where she pays very little to me. I want my space so that I can have new operators. How do I evict her?
1) If she has been uttering untrue factual assertions about you or your business--not merely opinions, but untrue facts--you can sue her for defamation. Examples: saying that you have been sued for damaging customers' hair or hurting them when you never have, or that you don't pay your employees when you do, is defamation; saying that you do "ugly" hairstyles is not, because that is an opinion, and opinions are not defamation in the eyes of the law (everyone is entitled to their own opinion).
2) If you are leasing to her (e.g. she is a chair or booth renter), if you have a written lease, you can evict her when the lease allows you to (e.g. when it expires, or on the proper notice as set out in the lease). If there is no written lease, she is a month-to-month tenant on an oral lease and you can remove her on one month's notice. In these events, if she does not leave when you tell her to, you can bring an eviction action in court to remove her.
3) If she is not leasing to you but you are just letting her have space because she is family, she is legally a guest; you can give her notice to leave whenever you want, including some short but reasonable time (maybe 2 weeks?), then bring what is commonly called an action "for ejectment" to remove her if she still won't go.
For 2) and 3), a landlord-tenant attorney can help you and make the process much easeir.
4) If she is actually an employee of yours and not a renter or guest, you can fire her at any time (unless you have a written contract with her limiting how or when you can fire her) and make her leave.
5) If you had her sign any non-compete or non-solicitation agreement in the past, preventing her from competing with you or taking your clients and she is violating it, you can sue her for "breach of contract" to enforce it.