O'Hazo v. Bristol-Burlington Health Dist.

Decision Date12 February 2009
Docket NumberNo. 3:06CV00064 (DJS).,3:06CV00064 (DJS).
Citation599 F.Supp.2d 242
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Connecticut
PartiesBrien O'HAZO, Plaintiff, v. BRISTOL-BURLINGTON HEALTH DISTRICT, Defendant.

Dawne Westbrook, East Glastonbury, CT, for Plaintiff.

Gabriel Joseph Jiran, Lisa Banatoski Mehta, Shipman & Goodwin, Hartford, CT, for Defendant.



The plaintiff, Brien O'Hazo ("O'Hazo"), brings this action against the defendant, Bristol-Burlington Health District ("the Health District"), alleging that he was unlawfully discriminated and retaliated against because of his sex and his age in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII"), the Age Discrimination in Employments Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq. ("ADEA"), and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, Conn. Gen.Stat. §§ 46a-60 et seq. ("CFEPA"). Now pending before the Court is the Health District's supplemental motion for summary judgment (dkt. # 43).1 For reasons that hereafter follow, the Health District's supplemental motion for summary judgment (dkt. # 43) is GRANTED.2


The amended complaint sets forth legal theories that rely on a variety of incidents that have not been pled. The parties generally stipulate to these incidents in their memoranda. Accordingly, the following facts have been derived from the Local Rule 56(a) Statement of Material Facts and all of the memoranda submitted in support of and opposition to the motion for summary judgment.

O'Hazo was born on March 17, 1946. In 1990, he began working for the Health District as a sanitarian. O'Hazo was employed by the Health District for sixteen years and held the same position until the Health Department terminated his employment on December 15, 2006. He was one of the few males employed by the Health District. When the Health District hired O'Hazo, Francis Bartucca ("Bartucca") was the supervisor for him and his co-worker, Phyllis Amodio ("Amodio"). Bartucca, in his capacity as O'Hazo's supervisor, criticized or directed O'Hazo's work on occassion.

In 1995, Amodio was promoted to the position of Chief Sanitarian and became O'Hazo's supervisor. One-and-a-half or two years after Amodio's promotion, O'Hazo discovered that Amodio was finding things to criticize him for without bringing them to his attention. O'Hazo claims that he received more critical evaluations from Amodio than from Bartucca. O'Hazo also claims that he was treated differently from his similarly situated younger, female co-worker, Karen Wagner ("Wagner"), in that she was not subjected to the same scrutiny and harassment to which he was subjected. O'Hazo had six years of seniority over Wagner, who was born on January 31, 1965. O'Hazo and Wagner shared food service responsibilities and, initially, the alphabet of food servers was equally divided so that O'Hazo visited fifty percent of food servers and Wagner visited the other fifty percent.

O'Hazo further claims that the Health District's Director of Health, Patricia Checko ("Checko"), and Amodio have engaged in a series of disciplinary actions which amounted to a "litany of discipline." Numerous memoranda and detailed notes and documents regarding these disciplinary actions were kept in O'Hazo's personnel file and in a separate "supervisor's" file. O'Hazo believes that both files contained information misrepresenting various events, and that many of the incidents were documented for the purpose of building a disciplinary history sufficient to terminate his employment.

O'Hazo and the Health District stipulate to the following events, which, according to O'Hazo, each represents a disciplinary action taken against the Health District. For the purpose of clarity, the Court has numbered each event and placed it in chronological order.

(1) In May or June of 20003, O'Hazo was criticized by Checko for "not being a team player" ("the Team Player Meeting");

(2) On May 5, 2000, O'Hazo was called into a meeting with Checko, Amodio, and the restaurant owner of the Cacti Restaurant ("the Cacti Restaurant Meeting"). The Cacti Restaurant Meeting resulted from O'Hazo's involvement in an incident at the Cacti Restaurant. O'Hazo had been scheduled to perform an inspection during the Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo. The restaurant owner, however, did not want the food inspection performed that day, and a discussion between the owner and O'Hazo escalated to the point where O'Hazo felt threatened by the owner. The owner filed a complaint with the Health District. Although O'Hazo agrees that it was not inappropriate for Checko to hold a meeting under those circumstances, he maintains that the inspection was part of his duty, that he did nothing wrong at the Cacti Restaurant, and that he was interrogated on this incident for two hours;

(3) In October 2001, O'Hazo was called into a meeting with Checko, Amodio, and the restaurant owner of Cosmos Restaurant ("the Cosmos Restaurant Meeting"). The Cosmos Restaurant Meeting resulted from O'Hazo's involvement in an incident at the Cosmos Restaurant. The restaurant owner claimed that O'Hazo had harassed him and was abusive to him. While O'Hazo agrees that it was not unreasonable for Checko and Amodio to question him when they received a complaint from the public, he maintains that this was an extensive interview, the basic premise of which was that he was guilty of some wrongdoing. O'Hazo also claims that the Health District solicited adversarial information from the restaurant owner;

(4) In December 2001, O'Hazo was called into a meeting with Checko, Amodio and a union representative and was criticized for his conduct during a lead inspection ("the Barbara Road Lead Meeting"). This meeting was a follow-up to a letter that Checko received from a representative from the State Health Department stating that O'Hazo did not know how to perform lead inspections. O'Hazo claims that although he is a certified lead inspector, he has had limited lead experience and exposure, and he believed that State Health Department employees were available to perform lead inspections as part of their job;

(5) On August 29, 2002, Amodio criticized O'Hazo for failing to complete basic information in the inspection report for a lead inspection ("the Prospect Street Lead Inspection"). Amodio wrote a memorandum to Checko expressing her concerns. O'Hazo maintains he did not fill out the paperwork correctly because Amodio was not clear in her instructions, and because O'Hazo lacked experienced in this area and was not sensitive to the level of difficulty he would have in transposing the information to the required forms (6) In March of 2003, O'Hazo was called into a meeting with Amodio and Checko to explain why he interrupted an Asian food cooking class ("the Asian Cooking Class Meeting"). This meeting was a follow up to a memorandum Amodio sent to Checko, expressing that O'Hazo's behavior in interrupting an Asian food cooking class was allegedly "inappropriate and insubordinate." O'Hazo maintains that he should not have been reprimanded for this incident. He claims that he had a right to be at the class because he frequently inspected the facilities. Furthermore, O'Hazo claims that it was appropriate for him to share important information about hand washing and sanitary practices;

(7) In March 2003, O'Hazo was called into a meeting with Checko and a union representative to respond to allegations against him of harassing and scaring the staff at the Burlington Inn ("the Burlington Inn Meeting"), following a complaint from the owner. O'Hazo claims that Checko should not have called him into this meeting because he was inspecting a building where the Burlington Inn was catering an event, and he was doing this on his own time and in the capacity of a part-time contractor for the Town of Plainville. O'Hazo further claims that Checko solicited adversarial information from the Burlington Inn to put in his supervisory file;

(8) In September 2003, O'Hazo was initially denied compensatory time to go to a meeting at the Worker's Compensation Commission ("the Compensatory Time Denial Meeting"). Specifically, he claims that he was only permitted compensatory time to attend the meeting when a union representative approached Checko about allowing O'Hazo to attend the meeting. Checko maintains that she initially denied the request because she thought it was inappropriate for O'Hazo to attend the meeting while on work time, but when O'Hazo insisted, she allowed him to attend during work time while being paid by the Health District;

(9) On December 29, 2003, O'Hazo received a supervisory memorandum ("the December Supervisory Memorandum") from Amodio regarding a report that O'Hazo had written about septic failures and complaints. In the December Supervisory Memorandum, Amodio wrote, "Your listing on `New System' was confusing and misleading.... Once you return to work you will be given a time frame to complete this assingment [sic]." (Dkt.# 29, Ex. A, Pt. 7.) O'Hazo maintains that this was an unnecessary disciplinary action because this was the first time he had been asked to complete the report, and it was unfair of Amodio to criticize him in writing for the mistakes he made;

(10) Sometime in 2004 and 2005, O'Hazo was called into a meeting and criticized for not performing some of his duties related to the Giamatti Little League Complex ("the Giamatti Little League Complex Meeting") during the period of January 2004 through June 2005. O'Hazo claims that this was a work prioritization issue, and he was planning on completing the duties at a later date;

(11) Sometime in 2004 and 2005, O'Hazo sought to become union steward but was ruled out ("the Union Steward Denial"). It is O'Hazo's belief that he was ruled out because: (a) he had a pending CHRO complaint against his employer; and (b) his direct supervisor, Amodio, was President of...

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