What are an employee’s rights to their cell phone number after termination?

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What are an employee’s rights to their cell phone number after termination?

I had cell phone, laptop, and computer for 6 months before they were asked to give back to said company. I asked the CFO if I could port the cell number to a personal plan. He agreed and I paid the $210 contract breakage fee with credit card. I ported the number to my personal account that evening. The owner fired the CFO for doing so and is demanding I return the phone number or he will sue. Does he have grounds to sue? Am I in the wrong or is this a scare tactic? I do not have written documentation of the transaction other than the text messages from the CFO.

Asked on May 10, 2014 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You would not normally have any rights to a cellphone number provided by the company, except that the CFO 1) agreed to let you do so and 2) in reasonable reliance on his agreement, you took an action to your detriment (i.e. paid the money). Since the CFO gave you the number and you paid for it, you now have a right to it. That said, if the owner is determined to sue you, even if you win, you will likely spend more defending the suit than the number is worth. You might be best off seeing if they will reimburse the $210 and perhaps give you some other payment or money for your trouble, then return the number to them.


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