Denied benefits - No ESOP's nor financial help
I have worked for a software start up for close to 9 years.
Since it was a start up, most of the compensation was to be paid in terms of ESOP's.
I was one of the core members in the company, entire responsibility of running the unit was on me.
For many years it was run by the core team in India while the CEO was in US.
After some years the CEO came down and took the entire responsibility.
When i decided to quit i was given a promissory note that i would be given X amount of shares, process of issuing was said to be kicked off.
Initially follow up on phone calls got false dates and deliberate wrong information about why the shares where still not issued to me.
To document it the follow up made was transitioned to email, which ran for 2 years. The responses from company directors was that company was not doing well because of which they were not able process my request. As the processing fees for filing was high which the company was not able to afford then. I know this the standard response to many other ex employees which the company owed money.
The CEO of the company is not a trust worthy man.
He has always maintained that the financially health of the company is not good until recently.
Which was not correct as during my tenure we had built certain assets which could have come handy during such hard times. The CEO and director successfully dodged selling the asset which was built on hard work of the other employees who put theirs families and self needs on hold in the interest of the company.
As it was clear that the shares would never come by and my financial condition was deteriorating (this was the first and only job and all my earnings was in terms of ESOP's) , after a follow up for about an year on the email i had requested for some financial settlement in lieu of these shares.
Which also did not yield any fruitful response. When ever the number discussion came it was done on the phone and never on the email.
I have the signed promissory note on the letter head of the company.
Also the above discussion in an email thread spanning more than 2 years.
What are the options available for me?
I want to ensure the hard work and the risk which was taken by me should be awarded reasonably and also the bring out the wrong treatment which i have been made to go through.
Asked in Labour from Bengaluru, Karnataka
It is advisable to first issue a legal notice to the company claiming your legally due amount. The reply of the company to ur legal notice would rather decide the further course of action as regards filling suit before the court or labour commissioner or other authorities.
1. Send a legal notice to the CEO of the Company to forthwith act to give 'X' amount of shares as promised to you.
2. File a case against the Company with Company Law Board and SEBI based on the Promissory Note given to you.
1. File a Recovery suit claiming the amount promised to be paid to you by the Company,
2. The promissory note issued by the Company will be of great use in establishing your claim,
3. Simultaneously also file a criminal case of cheating you by not paying the assured amount. This will put pressure on the directors of the Company in settling your dues.