Q. We offered a job to an applicant who was located out of state. We orally promised her a position and gave her a start date. As the date grew closer and we were finalizing the offer letter, there was a hiring freeze and we had to withdraw the offer. When we contacted her to let her know, she said that she had already quit her previous job, terminated her apartment lease and relocated to be closer to her new job. She has now threatened to sue us. Does she have a case?
A. Possibly. In general, absent an employment contract, employment in Pennsylvania is at-will, and no employee has any particular right to a particular job.
In some limited cases, however, an employee may be judged to have provided additional consideration by undergoing a substantial hardship, such as giving up an existing job and relocating for a new position. It’s possible that a court would find that the person in this case is entitled to employment for a reasonable period of time.
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