If getting fired from your job wasn’t enough to get you down how about adding on the possibly being defrauded millions by the company giving you the boot? Well that is what allegedly happened to MMO guru Richard Garriott. In a suit filed against NCSoft, Richard Garriott claims that his termination was classified as voluntary when it was in fact, not voluntary at all. Because of that voluntary classification, NCSoft forced Garriott to cash out his stock options early causing him to lose millions.
Details from the suit filed against NCSoft: “In… November 2008, Chris Chung, President of NCSoft’s North American operations, informed Mr. Garriott that NCSoft has decided to “part company.” Although Mr. Garriott objected to his dismissal, Mr. Chung insisted that the decision was final – Mr. Garriott had to go.
As Mr. Garriott prepared to leave NCSoft, however, Mr. Garriott learned that NCsoft had internally re-characterized his termination by Mr. Chung as a “voluntary” resignation… This mischaracterization had profound and detrimental effects on Mr. Garriott’s stock options: if NCsoft terminated Mr. Garriott’s employment (which it did) then the options – worth tens of millions of dollars – would remain in effect until 2011; but if Mr. Garriott resigned voluntarily (which he did not), then NCsoft might have terminated those options… within ninety days of his departure…
NCsoft forced Mr. Garriott into a Hobson’s choice of exercising his options… and forced him to sell into one of the worst equity markets in modern history…”
Garriott is suing NCSoft for $27 million in damages associated with the losses from his stock options and subsequential taxes associated with the alleged forced cash out of those options. We’re not sure what side is telling the truth here, however, the fact that when Garriott was let go it was presented to the community as voluntary, and as far as we can tell Garriott made no public objection to that then, seems slightly odd. Who do you think is telling the truth this time, the little guy or the corporation?