Garriott was sacked while in “quarantine from his space flight”

By Patrick Garratt, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 13:42 GMT

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It’s the stuff of news dreams. Not only is Richard Garriott suing NCsoft for $24 million, but he’s also claiming he was fired while still in “quarantine from his space flight,” according to this GamePolitics report.

From Garriott’s complaint, filed with a US court yesterday:

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 from the company. 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…

More through there. Lesson learned: don’t play cosmonauts if you want to keep your job.

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