Can companies prevent you from taking work product you created when you leave?

I work for a company and wrote a treatment manual. I have no contract that says that the work I do for them is their property and they copied wrote the work under the agencies name. I am leaving and am curious as to what my rights are.

Asked on July 23, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you created this manual during the course of performing your job duties, then you have no right to it. It belongs to your employer.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You have no rights to anything you created for the employer or as part of your job. Anything created by employees in the course of their employment belongs to the employer; the employer, not you, owns the rights (e.g. copyright) to it.

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 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.