Appellate Victory!

On April 5, 2012, the Appellate Division affirmed the Trial Court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing all claims against one of our clients. In Pichler v. Jersey Elevator, the plaintiff, the former vice-president, was terminated after several incidents, the “last straw” being his second arrest for domestic violence against his son (who was also an employee). The president cited the plaintiff’s violations of the company’s anti-harassment policy as the reason for termination and stated he believed the plaintiff’s consumption of alcohol impaired his performance. The appellate panel affirmed the dismissal of the Law Against Discrimination complaint. Applying a disparate treatment analysis, the panel concluded that, even if the plaintiff offered a prima facie case of discrimination, he did not demonstrate that the proffered termination reason was pretextual. The conduct in question was directed at an employee and constituted an alarming escalation of conduct that had been reported in the workplace for several years.