For this fashion maven, going to New Jersey was worse than wearing white after Labor Day. A top manager for ritzy design house Elie Tahari gripes in a $2 million claim against the company that he suffered a mental breakdown partly because his bosses banished him to outposts in the Garden State. "It was the smog. It was depressing driving to Jersey," said Thomas Horodecki, 36. "The traffic was horrendous on Route 4, and they are pretty bad drivers. The stores are kind of cheesy for the most part. "New York City has everything when it comes to fashion, especially Saks. And when it comes to styling, let's just say Jersey is difficult. Fashion it is not!" Horodecki -- who also managed the designer's in-store shop at Saks Fifth Avenue in Midtown -- said in an arbitration claim filed Wednesday that he was snubbed for raises and promotions because he is Polish and not Jewish. Horodecki, a Christian, alleges that his supervisor, Israeli-born Sagit Halperin -- married to Tahari head designer Kobi Halperin -- passed him over for less senior female Israeli staffers. He claimed the women would all vacation together in Israel. His complaints got him exiled to Tahari's in-store boutiques at the Hackensack branches of Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's, and at Neiman Marcus in Paramus, he said. "Mentally, I just started going crazy. I had a breakdown. I was crying to my partner," he said. "Depression set in. I couldn't go to work anymore. I'm presently seeing a psychologist and [I'm] on Zoloft." The weekly trips to New Jersey weighed heavily on Horodecki. "Mentally, I was exhausted from everything. It absolutely contributed to my breakdown as time went along," he said. Horodecki's attorneys, Michael Borrelli and Alexander Coleman, said "it is outrageous to treat employees disparately based on their national origin and/or religion." Horodecki claims that in December, his depression drove him to leave work on disability, and just days after he left, Sagit Halperin announced at a staff meeting at Tahari's main showroom on West 42nd Street that Horodecki had been canned -- even though he had not been.Horodecki said he is still employed and remains on disability leave. Tahari VP Scott Currie said, "We do not comment on current employees."We have comment either. Wow! PS: How You Doin', Thomas!
Man Transferred to Unstylish New Jersey, Sues Boss for $2 Million
Thomas Horodecki, a manager at Elie Tahari in-store boutiques in New Jersey, is suing for $2 million for the "anguish" and "depression" caused by his weekly commute through an unstylish area of the state. True story.