New Jersey Man Files Age, Gender Discrimination Suit

Rather than let office politics further ruin his health, a Hamilton, N.J. man enlisted the legal system.

William Simisak, 60 sued Mercer County, N.J. after he claimed his supervisor, Victoria Rivera-Cruz, created a "hostile work environment" at the county’s office of personnel. Simisak alleges he was discriminated against because of gender, age, and disability.

After Rivera-Cruz became Simisak’s supervisor, she allegedly told him "he didn't have what it takes to be an assistant director," though he held the position and once acted as the office’s interim director. The suit also alleges Rivera-Cruz told Simisak he "had a problem working for women bosses" with no supporting documentation.

Four years ago, Simisak requested leave to take his 84-year-old mother to physical therapy following her surgery. Although nothing was mentioned at the time of Simisak’s request, Rivera-Cruz later "sought to discipline him for time missed from work,” according to the suit.

A year after that, Simisak said his boss threatened to transfer him back to the Mercer County Correction Center, where he previously worked and had been threatened by inmates. Those threats, Simisak said, caused him panic attacks, nightmares, and nosebleeds. He reminded Rivera-Cruz the transfer would compromise his health and said the county failed to investigate this "unlawful and harassing treatment" from Rivera-Cruz.

​Since 2005, Simisak's medical condition prevented him from returning to work, the suit contends. The suit seeks payment for lost wages and medical bills.

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