Cites hostile work environment, misuse of office, neglect of public interest
In a lawsuit filed today in State Supreme Court, Kings County, a former employee of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz claims she was systematically undermined and illegally removed from her job after enduring more than a year of discriminatory treatment based on her age and gender. The lawsuit outlines a pattern of disparate treatment of the plaintiff and other female employees, as well as evidence of blatant discrimination against older job applicants. The complaint filed with the court also indicates that Markowitz misused his City office for political purposes during a year when he was running for reelection, and that he neglected issues that were crucial to his constituents.
The plaintiff, Markowitzâ€™s former communications director Regina Weiss, alleges multiple violations of New York Cityâ€™s Human Rights Law, which prohibits employment discrimination based on age or gender. Ms. Weiss alleges that she was deliberately subjected to untenable working conditions that were a vast departure from those applied to the young male directors who preceded and followed her in the position, undermining her ability to fulfill essential job functions, and resulting in her unlawful termination.
Before being removed from her position at Brooklyn Borough Hall in 2006, Ms. Weiss, who is 50, had a long record of professional accomplishment, including jobs with both Markowitz and his predecessor in office, Howard Golden, as well as with Planned Parenthood Federation and the New York State Nurses Association. She holds a graduate degree in social policy.
â€œIn more than 30 years of work, I have never been held in anything but the highest regard by my employers or my colleagues,â€ said Ms. Weiss. â€œMy career and my self confidence have been hugely damaged by the discriminatory and disparaging treatment I endured at Brooklyn Borough Hall. I cannot let that stand.â€
â€œThis lawsuit arises from a classic case of age and gender discrimination in the workplace, where a highly accomplished woman is subjected to numerous instances of discriminatory conduct that ultimately resulted in her illegal termination. We look forward to presenting this case to a jury,â€ said attorney William Sipser.