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Stock Options Agreements and Benefit Plans | The Power of Documents

Employees with benefit plans have rights that are based on “plan documents”. Under federal law, retirement and medical benefits have to be administered as provided out in the plan documents. Stock option plans are also governed by securities laws. Statements concerning these plans which are inconsistent with the plan documents are usually unenforceable.

Remember when your employer promises that you will be entitled to 10,000 stock options or promises you an “equity interest”, these promises are not enforceable without an actual written stock agreement. You might be able to sue your employer for making a fraudulent promise if he is specific enough about the promise but even then, you will not be able to recover economic damages unless it is possible to place a value on the options or the equity interest.

Benefit Plans are governed by ERISA and your employer is not permitted to deviate from it’s Benefit Plan in conferring these benefits.

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