Who owns documents on a personal computer – the college or the teacher?

I have used my personal computer for 4.5 years at the institution where I have worked. My contract was not renewed. Who owns the documents? There was no contract signed concerning this issue nor is it in the policy manual.

Asked on May 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Anything you did for work or the request of your supervisor(s), or using *any* resources of your employer (e.g. any online research tools or access they provided) belongs to  them. Your purely personal files (e.g. resume, work for other employees or on a freelance basis, not done during your college work hours or using college resources, personal correspondence and photos and music, etc.) is yours. Basically, if in any way for work or using resources supplied by work for your work (not personal) use is theirs.

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.