Triano Williams worked for the American College of Education, an Indiana-based online school, but was fired in April after refusing to relocate from his Chicago home for work.
Now, he’s demanding the school rehire him as a consultant and pay him $200,000 to unlock the information, the Indianapolis Star reported.
The college offered its employees the decision to relocate to Indianapolis or resign and take a severance package. Most of them left, leaving Williams as the college’s only administrator.
School officials said they tried to log into the Google account numerous times and contacted the company for assistance. The school alleges in the suit that Williams installed a new operating system, changed the account’s password and erased the hard drive.
But Williams’ lawyer, Calvita Frederick, claims the school mistakenly erased the data.
“The reality is the college created this problem over the course of the last several years as a result of certain business decisions followed by the termination of certain key employees,” Frederick wrote in a letter to the college’s attorney, according to the Indy Star.
Meanwhile, Williams, who is black, filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago accusing the school of racial discrimination.
So far, he has failed to attend court hearings, and a judge ordered him to pay the school $248,350 in damages.
Frederick said the school has hired other former employees as consultants and is asking Williams to work for free with threats of possible jail time.
“He’s got a lot of damages as a result of what’s happened,” Frederick said.
Scott Preston, the school’s lawyer, told the Star that Google has already unlocked the account and retrieved the data for the school.