What are my rights if I just quit a chef job and took all the recipes I developed while there?

UPDATED: Sep 11, 2012

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What are my rights if I just quit a chef job and took all the recipes I developed while there?

The owner is claiming they are his property and won’t give me my last paycheck until I return them. What are my rights here?

Asked on September 11, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you develop intellectual property while working somewhere as an employee, and developed the intellectual property as part of your job, then yes--it is the employer's property, not yours. Any recipes you develped on the job belong to your employer, not you, and your employer could sue you for monetary damages if you use them elsewhere and/or for a court order barring you from using them.

However, the employer cannot withhold your last paycheck for this reason--the employer must pay you for all work done, but could, as discussed above, take legal action against you.

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