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Proving CT Employment Discrimination - Burden Shifting Analysis

Claims of employment discrimination are evaluated under the burden shifting analysis set forth in Ford v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Connecticut, Inc., 216 Conn. 40, 53-54, 578 A.2d 1054 (1990). See Mele v. Hartford, supra, 270 Conn. at 766, 855 A.2d 196. "Section 31-290(a) prohibits an employer from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee because the employee had filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits or otherwise exercised her rights under the act." Id., at 767, 855 A.2d 196. "The plaintiff bears the initial burden of proving by the preponderance of the evidence a prima facie case of discrimination.... In order to meet this burden, the plaintiff must present evidence that gives rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination.... If the plaintiff meets this initial burden, the burden then shifts to the defendant to rebut the presumption of discrimination by producing evidence of a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its actions.... If the defendant carries this burden of production, the presumption raised by the prima facie case is rebutted, and the factual inquiry proceeds to a new level of specificity.... The plaintiff then must satisfy her burden of persuading the factfinder that she was the victim of discrimination either directly by persuading the [fact finder] ... that a discriminatory reason more likely motivated the employer or indirectly by showing that the employer's proffered explanation is unworthy of credence." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., at 768, 855 A.2d 196. The plaintiff, however, bears the ultimate burden of proving that the defendant intentionally discriminated against her. Id., at 768-69, 855 A.2d 196.

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