Aiello v. Stamford Hospital
A District Court can apply both the "but for" causation and the "motivating factor" tests, when it considers a former employee's Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act count. Plaintiff George Aiello filed a complaint against his former employer, alleging age and gender discrimination, wrongful discharge, retaliation and hostile work environment. The District Court granted the defendant employer's motion for summary judgment, and Aiello appealed to the 2nd Circuit. Aiello argued that the District Court incorrectly applied federal standards to the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act count, wrongly exercised jurisdiction over CFEPA counts, did not consider his "age plus gender" discrimination count and wrongly rejected his hostile-work environment count. The 2nd Circuit reviewed de novo. The 2nd Circuit rejected Aiello's claim that the District Court wrongly applied federal standards to the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act count. The District Court applied both the "but for" causation and the "motivating factor" tests, when it considered Aiello's CFEPA count. "The District Court expressly recognized the potential instability in Connecticut law," wrote the 2nd Circuit, and it "applied both tests." Aiello's claim that the District Court abused its discretion, because it exercised jurisdiction over state-law claims, lacked merit, because the same legal principles applied to federal and state-law counts. Although Aiello claimed that the District Court failed to consider his "age plus gender" discrimination claim, the plaintiff failed to raise the "age plus gender" claim to the District Court. The 2nd Circuit agreed with the District Court's ruling on hostile-work environment, for substantially the same reasons cited by the District Court. The 2nd Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court, Bryant, J.