Fired for Gross Negligence, Employment Information

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My jurisdiction is: Washington

I was fired from my job at a hospital for Gross Negligence, which was justifiable on the hospitals part. Upon my termination I filled out paper work with HR stating that the only information the hospital could give out on my employment was; dates, position and salary. Since that time, August 2008, I have started my own business in the same type of work I did at the hospital and in doing so competing against the hospital. I have been told by several potential clients that they would not do business with me because of the events leading to my termination at the hospital that I had worked at. I was even told by one client that an employee of the hospital discussed with them my situation and why I was fired. Do I have any legal recourse against the hospital for not following the terms in my release of information agreement about my employment? Can I sue for the loss of potential income?
Thank you.
You will have to show the document in question to an attorney in your state to see if it is enforceable.

Under the law, the employer is NOT required to limit what information they provide in reference checks, and they are not required to follow what instructions you give them. Without seeing what was signed, we can't say if it restricts them beyond the limit of the law or not. It *might* be enforceable, it might not, but only an attorney who has read it in full can say.
Since you own your own buinssness employment law does not come in to play. However there may arise several common law principals, such as defamation, the right of privacy, and most important interference with prospective economic advantage.
Defamation is divided into the torts of libel (publication) and slander (Speech).
Liability ensues under the following:

1.An "unprivileged" publication to another.

2.A statement that is false and defamatory,and

3.fault with respect to publication. In some instances, a plaintiff must prove that the statement has caused special harm.
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