Legal scholar Eugene Volokh, in his recent column on Reason, explains the potential legal consequences you could face by trying to get someone fired by threatening to end your business relationship with them. Volokh warns that some state laws recognize threats of cutting off one’s own business relationship as legally actionable.
In his column, he cites the case of Grako v. Bill Walsh Chevrolet-Cadillac, Inc. in Illinois to illustrate the legal implications. In this case, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant, Bill Walsh, used his client status with the plaintiff’s former employer to get her fired. The court allowed the lawsuit to proceed.
Volokh advises readers to refrain from engaging in behavior that could be considered “tortious interference.” Merely encouraging an employer to fire an at-will employee or urging others not to do business with the employer generally falls outside the realm of legal action. However, the thing that can get you in legal trouble is making threats involving your own business relationship.