Networking distributor Ilion is being sued for damages by former chief executive Serge van Gorkum and ex-operations director Minh Tran Chau, who both claim they were wrongfully dismissed.
Van Gorkum and Tran Chau had both entered into agreements entitling them to termination payments if Ilion was taken over in February 1999. But both were dismissed without notice days after the company was taken over by Landis Group, they claim.
Signed copies of letters accepting the agreements are attached in their High Court writs.
Taylor Joynson Garrett, company solicitor at Ilion, wrote to both men claiming they had lost their jobs after refusing to comply with "a reasonable direction", to answer questions composed in two letters.
But no details of the questions that the two men allegedly refused to answer are contained in the court writs. Landis was unavailable for comment.
On 10 February 1999, the company had written to both men saying: "The Ilion Group has been through a difficult period. We appreciate your commitment and hard work in this time. In recognition of this and also in consideration of your commitment to the future of Ilion, we propose to offer financial protection in the event of either a takeover of Ilion Group or a disposal of the subsidiary for which you work."
The men accept that the company was entitled to sack them without notice if they refused to comply with orders, but claimed they were not obliged to comply with requests that had not been lawfully issued following a board meeting.
There were no duly convened board meetings between 15 October and 5 November. During that time the board did not instruct the men to answer the directions set out in the solicitors' letters.
Van Gorkum and Tran Chau claim unfair dismissal and that they were not in breach of the agreement by refusing to answer. Van Gorkum is seeking payment of more than £326,000 and damages. Tran Chau is seeking payment of more than £330,000 and damages, and a declaration over his right to share options.
First published in Computer Reseller News
Vendor's announcements include AI-powered Microsoft Office, a move away from password verification and an alliance with Adobe and SAP
Vendor claims hackers are hijacking machines to mine for cryptocurrency
Nearly half of SMBs are planning to invest in digital workflows to reduce their paper-based processes by 2025, according to Quocirca
The charter has pulled together the biggest names in tech in an unprecedented attempt to address the tech industry's lack of diversity. Tom Wright asks how it plans to do it