Discrimination Suit Doomed by Employee’s Threats Against Supervisor
Our client, a large manufacturing company, fired an eleven-year employee and union member for threatening his supervisor. The employee filed a grievance and was later reinstated by an arbitrator. He next filed a five-count complaint in New Jersey state court alleging racial discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and various state common law claims. We removed the case to federal court and filed an immediate motion to dismiss two of the counts on statute of limitations grounds. The court granted that motion. We then filed for summary judgment on the remaining three counts. The court granted our motion in its entirety while also denying the plaintiff’s cross-motion to extend discovery. The court held that the plaintiff was unable to establish a prima facie claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination since he could not establish that he was performing his job duties at a level that met the company’s reasonable expectations. Furthermore, the plaintiff was unable to rebut the company’s articulated legitimate reason why it terminated him – namely, its good faith belief that the plaintiff had threatened violence against his supervisor.