Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes retaliated against an employee after he declined to process photos of "Valdes and her husband in various stages of undress," according to a new lawsuit.

Ferrara Law Group filed the lawsuit on behalf of Clifton residents Henry Hernandez in Passaic County court last week. Hernandez, 50, has been a media specialist at the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office for more than a decade.

Valdes is accused of giving CDs to Hernandez with various images in 2010, then again in 2014. The lawsuit says she requested that he process the images on the disks.

In the first instance, court filings state Hernandez was surprised to find "inappropriate" photos of Valdes on the disk.

"When he opened the disc on his computer, Plaintiff saw photographs of Valdes
and her husband in various stages of undress," the lawsuit states. "Hernandez did not believe that it was appropriate for him to view these materials and handed the disc back to Valdes and told her that he could not process it."

Then in 2014, the suit says Valdes again gave him a CD with photos for processing. It adds that this time she gave Hernandez an advanced warning of "personal items" on the disc.

Hernandez gave this disc back to Valdes before reviewing its contents. After this second refusal, Valdes and the PCPO staff started treating him differently, according to the lawsuit.

More than a decade ago, Hernandez's supervisors called him "superman" for his performance at work. But starting in 2014, he suddenly began to feel “frozen out” at work.

The lawsuit does not state which photos Valdes did want to be processed or why.

The tensions came to a head as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the civil complaint. Hernandez, a type 1 diabetic with heart issues, requested plastic barriers for his unit like others within the office in early 2020.

But Chief of County Investigators Christopher Drelich is accused of ignoring the request for over a year. When Hernandez followed up, the lawsuit says Drelich instead put a sign on his door banning all visitors without prior approval.

Hernandez's unit contracted COVID-19 in December 2021, court filings state, while the barriers were not installed until Feb. 2022.

In addition, Hernandez's lawsuit claims he was not paid for working from home on weekends throughout the pandemic. The PCPO is accused of not addressing the matter until July 2021 when it agreed to pay him, with an exception.

PCPO supervisors "decided that they would deduct one hour per day worked at home from Plaintiff’s compensation not due to any specific allegations of Plaintiff performing personal work on PCPO time, but rather the generic assumption that he was doing so," according to court documents.

The lawsuit has been transferred from Passaic County to Bergen County to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

New Jersey's new congressional districts for the 2020s

A district-by-district look at New Jersey's congressional map following the redistricting done after the 2020 Census.

The 2002-2003 New Jersey Nets: The last time the NBA Finals came through NJ

In 2012 the Nets made their Brooklyn debut, but before that, New Jersey was the home of the Nets dating back to 1977.

The franchise was born in 1967, under the name the New Jersey Americans. They played their games in Teaneck as part of the American Basketball Association. One year later they moved to Long Island, becoming the New York Nets.

It was there the team won two ABA championships in 1973-74 and 1975-76. The very next year the Nets, along with three other basketball franchises, were absorbed into the NBA as part of a merger deal, abolishing the ABA. 

When the Nets first moved to New Jersey, they played their home games at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway. Then in 1981, they moved into the home many of us remember them in the most, the Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford (later named the Continental Airlines Arena, then Izod center). 

After years of losing, The Nets made it to two straight NBA Finals in 2001-02 and 2002-03. In 2002-03, the final time they sniffed the championship, the team lost to the San Antonio Spurs.

It would be the last time the Nets sniffed the title, but their efforts added them to New Jersey lore forever.

NJ county fairs make a comeback: Check out the schedule for 2022

UPDATED 4/10: A current list of county fairs happening across the Garden State for 2022. From rides, food, animals, and hot air balloons, each county fair has something unique to offer.

(Fairs are listed in geographical order from South NJ to North NJ)