Rehmani v. Superior Court, 204 Cal. App. 4th 945 (2012)

Mustafa Rehmani, a Muslim born in Pakistan, worked as a system test engineer for Ericsson Inc. before his employment was terminated in 2009. Among other things, Rehmani alleged that three of his coworkers (Amit Patel, Aneel Choppa and Ashit Ghevaria) and Ericsson harassed him based on his Pakistani nationality and his Muslim faith. The trial court granted defendants' motion for summary adjudication of those claims on the ground that the undisputed facts demonstrated that Rehmani was not subjected to unwelcome harassment based on religion and/or national origin. The Court of Appeal granted Rehmani's petition for a writ of mandate and directed the trial court to vacate its order granting summary adjudication to defendants after reviewing the evidence. The Court noted that Rehmani had "offered evidence of a larger picture than just a few interpersonal squabbles. His declaration, together with testimony from coworkers, suggests rudeness, taunting, and intimidation from Indian engineers toward non-Indian colleagues." The Court further observed, "considering the current international climate of tension between Muslims and non-Muslims and that factor's interaction with relations between various countries (including Pakistan and India), we cannot regard the [claim of harassment based on religion] as independent of the evidence related to national origin."