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Rahman v. Crystal Equation

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

March 5, 2014

SHAW RAHMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CRYSTAL EQUATION, et. al. Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

MARSHA J. PECHMAN, Chief District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 105.) Having reviewed the motion, the response (Dkt. No. 124), the replies (Dkt. Nos. 126, 127), the Court GRANTS the motion and DISMISSES Plaintiff's claims.

Background

This is an employment discrimination case. Plaintiff was a software architect hired by Crystal Equation, a staffing company. (Dkt. Nos. 98 at 2, 106-1 at 131, 169.) Plaintiff signed his employment agreement with Crystal Equation on June 10, 2011. (Dkt. No. 107-1 at 45.) That agreement set out certain aspects of the relationship, including that it was "Employment At-Will." (Id. at 171.) He also signed a separate document, entitled "At Will Relationship." By signing the document, Plaintiff acknowledged that his employment was "not for a specified period of time and can be terminated at any time for any reason, with or without cause, by me or the Company. I acknowledge that no statements or representations regarding my employment can alter the foregoing." (Id. at 46.)

Crystal Equation assigned Plaintiff to work for its client, AT&T, as a software architect. (Dkt. No. 106-1 at 178.) Shortly after beginning this assignment, AT&T requested Plaintiff travel to Atlanta, Georgia, in order to attend a presentation. (Id. at 165.) Plaintiff did not believe travel was part of his job description and protested the request to his superiors. (Id. at 127.) Nonetheless, he traveled to Atlanta. (Id.) His travel arrangements were arranged by Miles Muslin, a recruiter with Crystal Equation. (Id. at 181.) The hotel reservation email receipt shows Plaintiff was booked for two nights at the Courtyard Marriott in Atlanta, Georgia. It does not show what room Plaintiff would stay in. (Id.) When Plaintiff arrived at the hotel, he was assigned to room 911. (Id. at 105.) Plaintiff requested hotel staff find another room, but none was available. (Id.) Plaintiff claims his is stay in room 911 was religious discrimination by his employer, because his former first name is Mohammad and, as a Muslim, his room placement was intended to humiliate and remind him of the events on September 11, 2001. In his deposition though, Plaintiff explained that he "cannot say for sure whether [Mr. Muslin] deliberately asked for room 911." (Id. at 104.)

Plaintiff appears to have worked his assignment at AT&T for several months without incident. In late fall of 2011, AT&T requested Plaintiff generate security certificates, apparently after a former staff member who handled the task left AT&T. (Dkt. Nos. 124-1 at 25-32, 106-1 at 52.) Plaintiff in turn, "repeatedly told him [his supervisor Ron Barchi] I do not want to do that. That's too much responsibility." (Id. at 51.) AT&T sought to have Plaintiff instructed on the task, to increase his comfort level. (Id. at 54.) Nonetheless, Plaintiff refused to generate the security certificates. (Id. at 58.)

In January 2012, AT&T notified Plaintiff that his position had been eliminated:

Shaw
Looks like I am losing your position on the team. I am going to have to end your con[r]tact by the end of next week. Let your contracting firm know.... It's been quite an interesting ride with all this, and [I] am glad you were on my team.
Ron

(Id. at 107-1 at 37.)

Eight months after the termination of his employment with AT&T and Crystal Equation, Plaintiff filed discrimination charges with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Dkt. No. 19.) Plaintiff's charge alleged "Respondent discriminated against me by booking me into room #9-11 at the Marriot [sic] hotel in Atlanta, as they were aware that my first name is Mohammad." (Id.) The charge also stated, without specification, "I was also given more responsibilities and subjected to different terms and conditions of employment." (Id.) Plaintiff received his right to sue letter in November 2012. (Dkt. No. 106-1 at 201.)

He filed this suit in February 2013, initially as two separate actions. (Dkt. No. 29.) He asserted claims for discrimination based on religion and nation origin, as well as hostile workplace, retaliation, and breach of ...


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