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3.14-1  Discriminatory Employment Practices - General Statutes § 46a-60

Revised to January 1, 2008

The plaintiff has alleged that the defendant violated Connecticut General Statutes § 46a-60 when it (discharged (him/her) from employment / took adverse action against (him/her)) on the basis of (his/her) race.1  Connecticut General Statutes § 46a-60 provides:  "(a) It shall be a discriminatory practice in violation of this section:  (1) For an employer, by the employer or the employer's agent, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge from employment any individual or to discriminate against such individual in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual's race . . . ."

In order to prevail on her claim under § 46a-60, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that ((his/her) discharge / the adverse employment action) was due to intentional discrimination based on (his/her) race.  Intentional race discrimination is proved in this case if the plaintiff demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that (his/her) race was a motivating factor for ((his/her) discharge / the adverse employment action) even though other factors also motivated the defendant's decision to (discharge / take adverse action) against (him/her).  A "motivating factor" is a factor that made a difference in the defendant's decision. 

The plaintiff does not have to prove that race was the sole or even the principal reason for the decision, as long as (he/she) proves that (his/her) race was a determinative influence in the decision.  (He/She) may prove intentional discrimination directly by proving that a discriminatory reason more likely motivated the defendant's action in (discharging (him/her) / taking the adverse employment action) or indirectly by proving that the reason[s] given by the defendant for the discharge (was/were) unworthy of belief.  If you find that the defendant's stated reason[s] are not credible, then considering all the circumstances, you may infer, although you are not required to infer, that race was a motivating factor in the defendant's decision, even if it may not have been the only motivating factor.

It is not your role to second-guess the defendant's business judgment.  As long as race was not a motivating factor that made a difference in its decisions, the fact that an employer's decision was incorrect, unfair, unwise or capricious, or even based on personal favoritism or animosity is irrelevant.

1 Section 46a-60 also prohibits discriminatory practices due to "color, religious creed, age, sex, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, mental retardation, learning disability or physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness . . . ."  Those words should be substituted for race in the instruction if applicable.


Jacobs v. General Electric, 275 Conn. 395, 400-404 (2005); Board of Education v. Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities, 266 Conn. 492, 505-507 (2003); Ford v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Connecticut, Inc., 216 Conn. 40, 53-54 (1990).

Third Circuit Pattern Jury Instruction No. 5.1.2; Diamond Volume, L. Sand et al., Modern Federal Jury Instructions – Civil (2006) pp. 3-188 - 3-189 (original available at http://www.ca3uscourts.gov).  The cases cited above all follow federal law set forth in McDonnell Douglas Corporation v. Green, 411 U.S.792, 93 S. Ct. 1817, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668 (1973).  The charge does not refer to the prima facie or burden shifting aspects of McDonnell Douglas because whether or not a plaintiff has established a prima facie case is an issue for the court and many federal courts have found that the burden shifting language has no place in a jury charge.  See e.g., Pivirotto v. Innovative Systems, Inc., 191 F.3d 344, n.1 (3rd Cir.1999) ("In Walther v. Lone Star Gas Co., 952 F.2d 119, 127 (5th Cir. 1992) the court noted that ‘the issue of whether a plaintiff made out a prima facie case has no place in the jury room.  Instructing the jury on the elements of a prima facie case, presumptions, and the shifting burden of proof is unnecessary and confusing.'  Similarly, in Ryther v. KARE 11, 108 F.3d 832 (8th Cir. 1997), the court observed that ‘instructions incorporating the McDonnell Douglas paradigm "add little to the juror's understanding of the case, and, even worse, may lead jurors to abandon their own judgment and to seize upon poorly understood legalisms to decide the ultimate question of discrimination."'").


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