ALVARADO v. HOTEL SALISBURY INCORPORATED

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

William ALVARADO, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. HOTEL SALISBURY, INCORPORATED, Defendant-Respondent.

Decided: March 22, 2007

FRIEDMAN, J.P., NARDELLI, SWEENY, McGUIRE, MALONE, JJ. Schwartz & Perry, LLP, New York (Brian Heller of counsel), for appellants. Kane Kessler, P.C., New York (Judith A. Stoll of counsel), for respondent.

Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Marylin G. Diamond, J.), entered March 1, 2006, which granted defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

 In this employment discrimination action, the record demonstrates that plaintiffs' terminations, as general manager and controller of defendant hotel, resulted from the hotel's perceived need to reduce expenses and implement new strategies in the face of declining revenues.   Although plaintiffs questioned the business judgment of the layoffs, a “discharged employee must do more than challenge the employer's decision as contrary to ‘sound business or economic policy,’ since such an argument does not give rise to the inference that the employee's discharge was due to age discrimination” (Ioele v. Alden Press, 145 A.D.2d 29, 35, 536 N.Y.S.2d 1000 [1989] ).   In short, defendants presented valid rather than pretextual reasons why a change in management was needed, and plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue as to whether the reasons offered for their termination were merely a pretext for discrimination (see Forrest v. Jewish Guild for the Blind, 3 N.Y.3d 295, 786 N.Y.S.2d 382, 819 N.E.2d 998 [2004] ).