What to do about a copyright and wrongful termination?

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What to do about a copyright and wrongful termination?

I presented a programmatic process I designed to a business and was hired to oversee it and implement it. I recently copyrighted it, on the basis I wrote it prior to this company extending an offer. I now feel that I am about to be terminated, despite no prior warning or even verbal reprimand. Earlier, I was asked to hire my boss self-described best friend and feel my boss is moving toward firing me and replacing me with this person. The program has succeeded in growing business. Would this be considered wrongful termination? Am I correct in assuming sole authorship copyright of this program as intellectual property, as I developed it prior to hire?

Asked on July 16, 2019 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

1) The default law of this nation is "employment at will": i.e. that there is no right to a job, and hence no such such as "wrongful termination" unless a) a written employmet contact is violated, or b) there is illegal class- or group-based discrimination going on (such as discrimination against someone due to their race, color, national origin, age 40 or over, religion, sex, or disability). So it is most likely not legally actionable "wrongful termination," even if arguably it is unfair or morally wrong. Basically, unless you have a written contract to the contrary, you can be terminated at any tim e, for any reason, even unfair ones.
2) As to the copyright issue: much depends on the exact time frame: if principal development was done after you were an employee, for example, the program and rights thereto belong to your employer. You may neeed to discuss the matter in detail with a IP (intellectual property) employee to understand your rights and what, if anything, you own.


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