If I’m fired by a school, do I have a right to my files that were housed on their servers?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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If I’m fired by a school, do I have a right to my files that were housed on their servers?

I was fired by a school for teaching about LGBTQ Pride despite having permission
from the principal to do so in advance. I have three years worth of files on my
Google Drive housed by the school. So far they have not been willing to give me
my three years worth of work back. Is this my intellectual property? What does the
law say about my right to have my own work and files back?

Thank you

Asked on August 28, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It was not "your" Google Drive: it was the schools. They do not need to give you copies of any materials on their drive, even material you placed there; anything you place on your employer's system becomes theirs, unless there was a written agreement to the contrary. Not only do they not need to give it to you, but they could simply erase it, if they chose, since they control what is on their system (or on resources provided by them). You should not keep the sole copy of work you did or materials you created on your employer's system.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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