Zeinali v. Raytheon Co., 636 F.3d 544 (9th Cir. 2011)

Hossein Zeinali, who is of Iranian descent, sued Raytheon for race and national origin discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act when it terminated his employment after he was denied a security clearance by the Department of Defense. The district court granted summary judgment to Raytheon, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that federal courts do have jurisdiction over employment discrimination claims that are brought against a private employer that was not responsible for the executive branch’s security clearance decision. The Court further held that summary judgment was improperly granted against Zeinali in view of the evidence he submitted that Raytheon terminated him while retaining at least two similarly situated non-Iranian engineers who lacked security clearances. The Court rejected Raytheon’s distinction between the other two engineers whose security clearances were revoked and Zeinali whose clearance was denied. See also Hall v. Goodwill Indus. of S. Cal., 193 Cal. App. 4th 718 (2011) (FEHA claim was barred by statute of limitations, which begins to run from the date of the right-to-sue letter and not from the date plaintiff receives the letter).