Vale v. City of New Haven Police Department
Allegations in an amended complaint can be allowed, if the amended complaint adequately relates back to the original complaint or charge to an administrative agency. In September 2009, the plaintiff, Kimberly Vale, began training at the New Haven Police Department training academy. Allegedly, a training officer, Rob Strickland, was unhappy about Vale's age (she was less than 44 years old) and apparently believed that Vale or her husband had complained about a possible violation of overtime law. Vale claimed that as a result of age discrimination or retaliation Strickland unfairly graded her performance in March 2010 on an obstacle course, which Vale failed because she was two seconds too slow. Vale applied again. Allegedly, she initially was informed that she had passed everything except the physical agility test. Vale suffered a urinary tract infection and was unable to pass. When she recovered, she was informed, for the first time, that she allegedly had not passed the psychological test. Vale sued the department, alleging age discrimination and retaliation, then moved to amend her complaint to allege that the defendants retaliated, in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, Connecticut General Statutes §46a-60(a)(4). Vale's theory is that both adverse actions were taken in retaliation, because training officers believed that Vale or her husband had complained about overtime violations. The defendants objected, and the District Court considered whether the subsequent conduct was sufficiently related to the earlier complaint to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The court found that the amended complaint related back to the allegations in the original CHRO, or EEOC, charge. "While these incidents of the NHPD's actions toward Vale do not mirror each other exactly," wrote the court, "they are close enough for relation back analysis."