If you have something personal on a company computer and you get terminated, can you get it back?

UPDATED: Jul 22, 2010

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If you have something personal on a company computer and you get terminated, can you get it back?

Ex: resume.

Asked on July 22, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

It's not clear whether you can get  it back. If it was physical property, including physical copies of a resume, you clearly could. Or even it was on a separate media which belonged to you--your own data key, for example--you would clearly have a right to it. However, you are talking here about pure data. Data on a company computer arguable belongs to the company. Alternately, it is something that had no right to be there, so the company is justified in simply wiping it. You are probably best served to ask--nicely!--for it; and if they don't provide it, to recreate it. After  all, if it's a resume, it will cost  you some time and effort to recreate, but there's nothing that can't be recreated about one; it's better to simply do it than try to fight your company about this, since they could always say "oops--we erased it before we knew you wanted it" and it would be almost impossible to disprove, at least not without expending far more effort than warranted.

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