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FedEx Driver Fired Over Russian Accent Sues

FedEx Driver Fired Over Accent

A former FedEx driver was fired over his accent, according to a lawsuit by the disgruntled former employee, who states he even offered to appear before corporate employees to demonstrate his proficiency in English.

The former FedEx driver, Russian immigrant Ismail Aliyev, filed the federal discrimination lawsuit against the shipping company, as well as the long-haul contractor that employed him and was ordered to fire him, reports Yahoo! Finance.

Aliyev worked for GNB Trucking Co. in West Valley, near Salt Lake City. The small business owns and operates FedEx trucks and also provides uniformed drivers for them.

The FedEx driver received a warning for his accent months after the job started when he was at an Iowa weigh station. One requirement for holding a commercial driver’s license is the ability to communicate.

While he does have a Russian accent, the former FedEx driver doesn’t believe it is difficult to understand. Aliyev stated, “I think for a driver, my English is not too bad.”

Despite this, the driver was still fired by FedEx for his accent, despite the fact that the company official who gave the order didn’t even speak with Aliyev before doing so. The company he was contracted through was required to terminate him, despite his offer to fly to a corporate office and speak with someone in person, notes The Washington Post.

The former FedEx driver who was fired over his Russian accent is no stranger to discrimination, according to his son, who explained that they fled from Russia over abuse, because they are Turks. They landed in Utah. He stated that, while his father can be difficult to understand over the phone at times, if you speak to him face to face he is not difficult to understand.

Aliyev’s attorney, Robert H. Wilde, stated that the former FedEx driver does have an accent, but “it’s very understandable.” He added, “FedEx just decided they didn’t want to deal with him, or even talk to him.”

The former FedEx driver fired over his accent is suing the shipping company in Salt Lake City, seeking an unspecified amount for lost wages and punitive damages as a result of the firing.

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4 Responses to “FedEx Driver Fired Over Russian Accent Sues”

  1. Anonymous

    He says it's because of his accent, but the real issue appears to be whether people could understand him, which is not exactly the same thing. Being fired because of a foreign accent is discrimination; being fired because he could not communicate with customers or fellow employees is probably not. It's certainly part of doing the job effectively. It would be important to know who evaluated his ability to make himself understood well enough to do a satisfactory job. The article is from the former employee's point of view, so he tells you the people he didn't get to meet with before termination. However, if his local managers determined that inability to communicate kept him from doing his job, that should be sufficient. Still, I kind of feel for the guy. He sounds motivated.

  2. Anonymous

    There's more to this than meets the eye. He's a Turk with a Russian accent and an immigrant. Interesting mixture.