Restricted stocks and co-founders firing each other


I am part of a 3 member start-up. When we started(6 month) ago we split the equity equally between us and signed a vesting agreement with a 1 year cliff.
We have been having some internal disagreements, and ego fights - it quickly became obvious the for the company to function properly one of us has to leave.
Now the other 2 partners are threatening to fire me. What happens to my stocks if I get fired?
I didn't reach the cliff, bit there is also a section in the agreement that says that if I get fired without a cause I get all my stocks up upfront.

Co-Founder Equity Legal

asked Jul 25 '11 at 05:26
111 points
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2 Answers


That depends on the exact contract, however, the way most of them are written, you would lose your shares if you left before the vesting, whether it was your choice or not.

answered Jul 25 '11 at 08:27
Joel Spolsky
13,482 points
  • The question specifically refers to an acceleration clause, so the cliff doesn't sound like the main factor. But frankly, when it gets to that level of details, read the fine print and if you can't, ask a lawyer. – Alain Raynaud 13 years ago


Figure out what (if anything you want) you want at this point. They run a potentially massive risk of being sued in the future by you if you claim you were forced out and they essentially used / stole your idea.

answered Jul 25 '11 at 10:55
142 points
  • Yes, figuring what you want is the primary thing to worry about. Once you know that, then you can find how to make it happen, legally or by reasoning with the other founders. – Alain Raynaud 13 years ago

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Co-Founder Equity Legal