If my employer promised stock options but never delivered, can I sue?
Question Details: About 4 years ago, I rejected multiple other job offers that promised good benefits (401k, etc.) because this small and promising company offered stock options instead. I was thinking that I could help the company grow, I thought 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 has always been good motivation for me. After the 90 days that he required me to wait passed, I sent 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 that the stock options were off the table for new hires for now. I felt he wanted to say it will be on the table soon. I kept waiting and asking for it a couple of times after that. I felt cheated and tricked in to the job, however I tried to just think about him in a good way, not to take it personally and try to cut him some slack. Now, 4 years later, the company almost doubled the number of clients. At this point, I don't know if I should continue asking since they always say, "Oh yes let's schedule a meeting next week" that that never comes. I felt cheated and that my employer did that for pure greed. I am thinking on leaving the company very soon. I no longer want to bring up the stock options issue because I don't plan to stay for longer. Can I sue for that plus having him pay legal fees? I want to sue based on the value of the stock options value 90 days after my hiring and the current value. Since it is a private company the only way to know would be to ask them or subpoena them. What are the legal options?
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.