Thank you. Failure to honour the contractual promises made and honour you with the shares, instead of the options, would amount to a breach of contract by the employer. That would allow you to consider a claim against them for the shortfall. However, that is unlikely to create a good relationship with the employer and the likelihood is that they may dismiss you instead. The reason they can do this is because you have been continuously employed at you place of work for less than 2 years and your employment rights will unfortunately be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. This means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as the decision is not based on a reason which makes a dismissal automatically unfair. These include:
· Discrimination due to a protected characteristic (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.)
· Taking, or trying to take, leave for family reasons including pregnancy, maternity/paternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave or leave for dependants
However, if the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions, you would not be able to challenge it. In that case your only protection would be if you were dismissed in breach of contract. That would usually happen if you were not paid any contractual notice period due to you (unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct, where no notice would be due).
So it may end up a choice between the value of the shares or your job, whatever is more important to you.
Does this answer your query?