Interviewing with a startup that our company is exploring investment in?

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Interviewing with a startup that our company is exploring investment in?

I am a key member of a team in a large tech company that invests minority investment in startups. I am interviewing with the startup that my company and my team is very interested in investing in and I am supposed to play a key role in making the investment case, although I won’t be the key influencer or decision maker. I can’t tell my boss about this and extricate myself since I don’t have an offer and also I need to wait until I get my annual bonus. What is the best way for me to handle this both ethically and legally?

Asked on February 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The best way to handle this is to not interview with this start-up. You are making the investment case; say that investment "goes south" or does not work out for your current employer and you either take a job with the start-up or it comes out that you were seeking a job with them, and so in either case, may have been slanting or biasing your recommendations to make sure they got the investment, to encourage them to hire you. In this event, your current employer could sue you for any losses they suffer, on the grounds that you committed fraud against them and/or violated a fiduciary duty as a senior or key employee. You could find yourself potentally liable for a great deal of money if something goes wrong.


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