Can I sue for negligence and/or emotional distress?

I’ve been in interview process with a company across the country for 4 months.
They made me a verbal offer 3 months ago after the 2nd interview and indicated
they would pay for my relocation. They also indicated that they would be in a
hurry to get me out there. They dragged their feet after that, eventually
conducting a background check and one more interview. Now they’ve emailed me
telling me they’ve decided to only consider candidates local to their area
obviously an excuse, or they would’ve said this 4 months ago.

In the meantime, my girlfriend and I began making plans and preparations in
anticipation of being relocated across the country, potentially at a moment’s
notice. We began packing things, putting extra things in storage, and giving
unnecessary things away. She informed her job that she would be putting in for
a transfer which is causing her trouble at work now, and we put our lives on
hold while we waited for the word to board a plane. We’ve spent 3 months living
in a world of uncertainty, not sure what the next day would bring. We both
suffer from anxiety, and that uncertainty has exasperated both of our anxiety
levels.

Can I sue the company for negligence and/or emotional distress?

Thank you.

Asked on March 12, 2017 under Personal Injury, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately you cannot do this:
1) First, in the absence of a written employment contract for a definite period (e.g. a one-year contract), which period has not expired, employment is "employment at will" and the employer may terminate employment--or, as in this case, rescind a job offer--at any time, for any reason. So legally, they could elect to not give you the job for any reason (or to have brought you out there, then fired or terminated you immediately); and since they had the legal right to do this, there is no claim against them, because people or businesses or not liable for doing what they have the legal right to do.
2) There is no claim for anxiety, emotional distress, etc. from any kind of action unless it was an action specifically aimed at causing distress (e.g. stalking, harassment). Employment and contractual claims, in particular, do not allow recovery of compensation for emotional distress.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, unfortunately you cannot do this:
1) First, in the absence of a written employment contract for a definite period (e.g. a one-year contract), which period has not expired, employment is "employment at will" and the employer may terminate employment--or, as in this case, rescind a job offer--at any time, for any reason. So legally, they could elect to not give you the job for any reason (or to have brought you out there, then fired or terminated you immediately); and since they had the legal right to do this, there is no claim against them, because people or businesses or not liable for doing what they have the legal right to do.
2) There is no claim for anxiety, emotional distress, etc. from any kind of action unless it was an action specifically aimed at causing distress (e.g. stalking, harassment). Employment and contractual claims, in particular, do not allow recovery of compensation for emotional distress.


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