Obtaining clients from previous hairdressers

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SarahPellow

Member
28 May 2020
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I have recently resigned from a casual hairdressing job. I had never signed any contract whilst I was there. I am now starting my own salon from home and have messaged a few clients that where mine from work and I was their only stylist and informed them that I was now working from home. I have now received a letter from my old bosses solicitor saying accusing me of steeling clients details and that I have to stop approaching clients from their salon. I don’t understand how they can say this as I haven’t ever signed anything saying I can not obtain clients when I leave. Also as part of my job I could access their appointment book and computer with client details on it. Therefore how can they say I was doing the wrong thing. Just want to know if I’m in trouble here.
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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Therefore how can they say I was doing the wrong thing. Just want to know if I’m in trouble here.
I guess if you got thier numbers from the employer data base then you could be in trouble... If they followed through that is ... a more 'hands off' approach would have been better *maybe*.... Something like friending them on social media & then just putting a status update on your page that you have left & are now working at xxxx
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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Were you an actual employee, or were you doing chair hire?
 

SarahPellow

Member
28 May 2020
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1
I guess if you got thier numbers from the employer data base then you could be in trouble... If they followed through that is ... a more 'hands off' approach would have been better *maybe*.... Something like friending them on social media & then just putting a status update on your page that you have left & are now working at xxxx
I didn’t get their numbers from their database I have been accused of doing so but i didn’t. I have just messaged clients numbers I have obtained and also contacted them on social media. They are telling me I cannot approach clients from their salon which I don’t think is right because I have never signed anything.
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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my job I could access their appointment book and computer with client details on it.

There is an argument that you 'took' property belonging to the business. There is likely to be an expectation the information is confidential and remains so despite you not signing a contract.

Signing a contract with a confidentiality clause just makes it a foregone conclusion. The business has other legal avenues to pursue you in the absence of a signed contract.

If the business gets a few customers (ie witnesses) saying you contacted them, you likely have no defence to a claim you have damaged the business.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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I didn’t get their numbers from their database I have been accused of doing so but i didn’t. I have just messaged clients numbers I have obtained...
How, then if not by raiding the customer list?
They are telling me I cannot approach clients from their salon which I don’t think is right because I have never signed anything.
That you never signed anything doesn't matter at all.
On the facts, you were a worker in that business (however deficient the record keeping might have been).
I agree with @Rod that you (still) have a duty of fidelity to your (now former) employer.
A customer list is the property of the employer.
A worker might have legitimate access to it in the course of their work.
But that worker is no more entitled to take/ acquire/ use the customer list for personal purposes
than they are are to make personal use of any other asset of the business.

A departing worker can tell clients of the bare fact of their leaving the employer.
That's about the extent of it.
If the clients contact you, with no soliciting on your part, then you're pretty much good to go.

Know this: In cases such as yours, the biggest hazard is not always the use of the contact list.
Rather, it's the very real possibility that your former employer
will put it about (untruthfully) in the market that you were sacked (rather than resigned), and
that you are something like incompetent and/or unreliable, and/or dishonest.
In which case, you stomp him like a beetle under a boot with a defamation action.
 

SarahPellow

Member
28 May 2020
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0
1
How, then if not by raiding the customer list?
That you never signed anything doesn't matter at all.
On the facts, you were a worker in that business (however deficient the record keeping might have been).
I agree with @Rod that you (still) have a duty of fidelity to your (now former) employer.
A customer list is the property of the employer.
A worker might have legitimate access to it in the course of their work.
But that worker is no more entitled to take/ acquire/ use the customer list for personal purposes
than they are are to make personal use of any other asset of the business.

A departing worker can tell clients of the bare fact of their leaving the employer.
That's about the extent of it.
If the clients contact you, with no soliciting on your part, then you're pretty much good to go.

Know this: In cases such as yours, the biggest hazard is not always the use of the contact list.
Rather, it's the very real possibility that your former employer
will put it about (untruthfully) in the market that you were sacked (rather than resigned), and
that you are something like incompetent and/or unreliable, and/or dishonest.
In which case, you stomp him like a beetle under a boot with a defamation action.
Okay so if I have only told some of my old clients that I have left my old salon and am starting up my own and that’s it. That’s all I’ve said, is that okay?
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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One thing to factor in - you said above
"...clients that were mine..."
and
"...my old clients..."


-> No.

Unless you were doing chair hire, and you were indeed a genuine independent operator,*
then they were your employer's clients, not yours.

In any event, the list is not your biggest problem.



-----------------------------------
* I've only ever met one chair-hire hairdresser who was a genuine sole trader.
Most chair hire is really sham contracting.
 

SarahPellow

Member
28 May 2020
4
0
1
One thing to factor in - you said above
"...clients that were mine..."
and
"...my old clients..."


-> No.

Unless you were doing chair hire, and you were indeed a genuine independent operator,*
then they were your employer's clients, not yours.

In any event, the list is not your biggest problem.



-----------------------------------
* I've only ever met one chair-hire hairdresser who was a genuine sole trader.
Most chair hire is really sham contracting.
Okay so what’s my biggest problem? I didn’t realise I wasn’t allowed to contact clients I had really good relationships with.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
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Sydney
Okay so what’s my biggest problem?
As I said above:
Know this: In cases such as yours, the biggest hazard is not always the use of the contact list.
Rather, it's the very real possibility that your former employer
will put it about (untruthfully) in the market that you were sacked (rather than resigned), and
that you are something like incompetent and/or unreliable, and/or dishonest.