If my employer promised stock options but never delivered, can I sue and get more for damages?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If my employer promised stock options but never delivered, can I sue and get more for damages?

About 4 years ago, I denied multiple other job offers that promised good benefits 401k match, etc, but because this small and promising company offer stock options instead, and thinking that I could help the company grow, I was thinking it could be a good idea to accept their offer and get in to that as soon as possible. Owning stocks in the company I work for always been good motivation. After the 90 days that he required me to wait passed, I send him the email asking for the stock options sign up, but he postponed the paperwork, then postponed it again, then again. Finally he told me the stock options were off the table for now for new hires until he indicated the opposite I felt he wanted to say it will be in the table soon. I kept waiting and asking for it a couple of times after that I felt cheated, I felt tricked in to the job, but I tried to just think about him in a good way and not to take it personally and try to cut him some slack, and see if he could offer it in a near future. Then, 4 years later, the company almost double the number of clients, and at this point I don’t know if I should continue asking since they always say,

Asked on May 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you had an actual written contract guarantying you those options, which contract was violated, you can sue to enforce--e.g. to get the options or their value. But a noncontractual promise is not enforceable in court and may be freely reneged on, so if you never had a contract for the options, you do not have have any recourse and cannot sue for compensation.

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