The background: I received a call from the owner of the pet-sitting company I work for on Friday, asking my opinion on an e-mail she sent me(told me I was not allowed to use a particular pet-sitter who had recently resigned). When I told her I disagreed(I'm an IC in Maryland and have a right to choose who works for me), she went ballistic and demanded that I turn all my keys in right then and there. She promptly called my regular clients and told them that we had problems negotiating a new contract. I handed over all of my client's keys to her(she said she was liable) that night. I then called some of my clients who were on my schedule for the next few days and let them know I was no longer working for that company, but that she had their keys, so before they needed someone to come they needed to make sure the keys were where they wanted them. I did let them know I was still a pet-sitter, but for a different company(I didn't reveal the name unless they specifically asked).
The legal stuff: The last contract I signed expired 1/31/04. I have not signed anything since then. That contract said we were allowed to work for other pet-sitting companies. It also said 30 day written notice had to be given for termination without cause. With cause was effective immediately...but there were only 2 things that were considered with cause and I didn't fall under either of them. I did nothing to any clients/pets, nor was it my decision to leave. She was satisfied with my work.
My concern: She verbally asked me to not slander her company name or call any clients until she has done so. Since she won't tell me when she calls them, I gave her the weekend before I started calling the non-essential(ones that didn't have any upcoming bookings). She said she is sending a legal document that says I'm not allowed to "solicit" or slander her name..."just so it's in writing". Again, I have not signed anything. Tonight she called me and told me Soliciting is contacting any of the clients period. She already threatened to sue another pet-sitter for solitcitation, so I'm worried that's what she's going to try on me. Can she do this? What legal rights do I have?