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I am getting some stock options for work I already finished last year, but they said it needs to vest for tax reasons.

My lawyer said I don't have to pay taxes until I exercise my options which will be later and it should be vested 100% because it is for work already finished. Do I have the right to insist my options be vested 100% if they are for work already performed last year?

The options come with 4 years vesting and a 1-year cliff and has a clause that say they can fire me for no reason at any time.

My lawyer says I am an independent contractor and I live in NY so this clause is not necessary, so we requested this part to be removed which they refused (they argued that it is a default template of the Californian company and cannot be changed).

Are they right to insist on these kinds of unreasonable clauses? Is this worth the risk?

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    What did your contract say about how they would pay you for your work? – Justin Apr 4 at 14:19
  • This question is unanswerable. We don't know what you agreed to when you started the work last year. It's possible that you can negotiate a better deal, but it's also possible that they will walk away from the negotiating table. You have to weigh those possibilities in any negotiation. – Nathan L Apr 4 at 14:27
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    If you don't have an agreement saying what you would be paid for the work, then they can legally not pay you at all. Or maybe minimum wage, if you can prove the number of hours you worked. – DJClayworth Apr 4 at 14:42
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    "Do I have the right to insist my options be vested 100% if they are for work already performed last year?" No. The important thing is that you are a contractor, not an employee, so a vesting schedule based on your employment term is quite meaningless. If it's not bound to your non-existent employment schedule, but just a staggered delay, that seems like it probably is legal. – Ben Voigt Apr 4 at 16:05
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a legal question about the rights contractor vs valid contract – Dheer Apr 7 at 15:20

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