In this employment case, plaintiff asserted claims for violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint, finding plaintiff was obligated to litigate her claims in arbitration pursuant to an agreement she executed when she was hired. The agreement also included a punitive damages waiver, which the trial court determined was enforceable.
The court affirmed the order dismissing the complaint, finding the agreement satisfied the requirements established in Atalese v. U.S. Legal Services Group, L.P., 219 N.J. 430 (2014), and therefore plaintiff was obligated to prosecute her claims in arbitration. The court, however, modified the order, holding the punitive damages waiver is unenforceable because it violates the public policy underlying the LAD. The court further concluded the waiver should be severed from the agreement, and directed that the matter proceed to arbitration with plaintiff able to pursue her punitive damages claim.