This is from a friend:

Unbeknownst to me, I was granted stock options back in January by my company but the VP gave the RSU letter to my coworker (not clear on why) and she's had it for 3 months. I don't go in the office much (work remotely) but that doesn't seem like a valid excuse for her to hold onto it and I've seen her multiple times since January. No one told me about the stock options...not my boss, the coworker, HR, etc. and I was unaware of the letter until my coworker randomly mentioned it, also that she read it. Not everyone in the company gets stock so it's not as if this is some generic form letter. I am really pissed off but not sure if this is a breach of confidentiality or just plain unprofessional

How should they proceed in this case? contacting HR?

  • 2
    Tell your "friend" to talk to the VP and make sure future paperwork is mailed or otherwise held until your friend is in the office. Apr 29, 2014 at 18:51
  • How should they proceed in this case? That depends on what they think the outcome should be.
    – Rob Moir
    Apr 29, 2014 at 20:09
  • You are asking about an assessment of an action for an evaluation about the application of legal concept and for the next action which could have legal consequences. that makes this off topic Apr 29, 2014 at 20:13
  • 8
    Because this is part of your compensation, the letter should have been in a sealed envelope (minimum) and marked private.
    – mkennedy
    Apr 29, 2014 at 20:48

3 Answers 3


This is very strange. I've both granted and received stock options. In every case where I granted them, I considered it vital to have a conversation with the recipient about shared goals, and about shared hopes for the company's success.

In one case where I received options the letter came in an interoffice mail envelope. That company later got bought for four cents on the dollar, after being looted by its executives. Other cases were more successful, and they had conversations.

These letters usually have some place where the recipient signs off on receiving the letter.

I've concluded that the way option grants are issued says a lot about the strength of the executive team of the company. Your friend's company is coming up short in this area.

If I were your friend, I'd take the letter to the VP, thank her for the grant, and ask her what she thinks needs to be done to make the options worth a fortune. In other words, I think your friend should initiate the motivational conversation that the VP should have initiated.

I'd also let the VP know that the letter didn't get to your friend right away.

Two slogans come to mind:

  1. Never assume malevolence where incompetence explains the behavior.
  2. "The entire purpose of ze doomsday maschine is lost if you keep it a secret!" (Dr. Strangelove).

This falls into the "Just plain unprofessional". I am guessing this is a smaller company as communication of options grants are often communicated late and without sufficient commentary. Your friend should definitely provide feedback to HR and/or their manager that communication was lacking and it was a bit weird to have the paperwork given to a co-worker as an intermediary rather than direct.


Clearly giving you share options and not telling you about them is quite pointless - the share options are meant as an inspiration to do better work, so the company would want to tell you about them! So this is weird.

On the other hand, not being told about these share options for three months didn't actually hurt you (unless you acted in some way because you were annoyed about not getting promised share options). Share options take time to vest, so they will turn into money probably in a few years time - doesn't matter when you were told.

So I'd tell the right people about what happened, but without making a big fuss of it.

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