a co-worker whom i worked with for about three years in a hair salon has been telling clients things about me which are private and confidential and also some of which are inaccurate and untrue. i am still a professional in this line of work and i feel that these negative statements are affecting my life, my family's life and my business.
If this other person is telling other people untrue bad things about you that damages your reputation- that is slander. If they write or publish something untrue about you that damages your reputation, that is libel.
But here is the catch: truth is an absolute defense to these actions. Therefore, if someone goes around telling people that you cheated on your husband and that you are dishonest- you cannot win a lawsuit if they can prove that these things are true.
If these things being said about you are actually false and have damaged your reputation, you should try to document any and all information about these statements (such as who was told, what the lies were, and also how telling that person damaged you) and go talk to a lawyer.
However, defamation cases are usually difficult to win- especially where the injured person cannot prove that they suffered damage to their reputation, or where the defendant can prove that the statements were true.
On the other hand, you might also have a case for tortious interference (with the business) if this person is making defamatory statements about you to clients- knowing that this is likely to cause your family to lose those clients.
If the statements are true but embarrassing, I would warn the person in writing to stop doing it. On the other hand, if the statements are indeed false, I would recommend you find a North Carolina attorney right away.
Best of luck, and I wish you and your family well.