Court: Woman jumped the gun quitting old job after getting offer from Merck

By Charmaine Little | Feb 20, 2019

U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter   Penn Law - University of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA - A woman's lawsuit against Merck has been dismissed after the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania determined on Jan. 22 that she resigned from her previous job prematurely.

Saswati N. Chand sued Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. after she quit her job, relying on a job offer with her potential new employer, Merck. The court determined she failed to mention that Merck specifically told Chand not to change her then-current employment status until she was told the pre-hiring requirements were satisfied. 

“Plaintiff admits that these conditions had not been fulfilled at the time Merck notified her that the offer was being withdrawn,” the court said. “Plaintiff nevertheless seeks to blame Merck for her own voluntary choice to resign, against Merck’s advice, before the hiring process was finalized.”

Judge Gene Pratter ruled the law does not assign liability to the prospective employer in this case. Her promissory estoppel claim fell short as there is no claim that can win for at-will employees in this situation. Her tort claim for negligent misrepresentation was also dismissed because it’s barred by the economic loss doctrine. Her good-faith and fair dealing claim was also dismissed as the court said it’s not a “cognizable” matter of law.

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Chand applied for a Global Medical Information Scientist in Oncology position in December 2017. During that time, she was on a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) student visa after she finished graduate school in Philadelphia. 

Before being told if she was given the job at Merck, she accepted a job offer from a different company called Crown Bioscience in California. In January 2018, while working for Crown, Chand interviewed for the Global Medical Information Scientist position for Merck. 

In her application, she said she wouldn’t require sponsorship for her visa at that time or in the future. Still, she told a Merck worker she was on a student visa and wouldn’t need sponsorship until May 2020.

In March 2018, Chand was told she would be getting an offer letter from Merck but was also told not to make any job changes until the application factors were checked out. She resigned from Crown, and shortly after that Merck told her that because of information concerning her visa, Merck would have to withdraw the offer. Chand then filed her lawsuit. 

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