FedEx Driver Fired Over Accent: Russian accent led to driver termination from FedEx

By on Nov 29, 2012 in Business, United States, World Comments

A FedEx driver was fired over his Russian accent, according to news reports on Thursday, November 29, 2012. Utah truck driver Ismail Aliyev reportedly filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against FedEx and his long-haul employer in a US District Court in Salt Lake City.

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Aliyev complained that even though he has a Russian accent, he can communicate well in English. He even volunteered to talk to FedEx management and let them hear his ability to speak in English. According to Aliyev, “I think for a driver, my English is not too bad.”

Robert H. Wilde, lawyer of Aliyev, explained that Aliyev has an accent “but it’s very understandable.” The lawyer added that “GNB said he was an excellent employee and would like to keep him, but it was instructed by FedEx to terminate him.”

GNB Trucking Co., based in Salt Lake City and long-haul partner of FedEx, is Aliyev‘s employer. When FedEx requested GNB to fire Aliyev due to his Russian accent, the contractor acted in favor of the Memphis, Tennessee based company. The trucking company said that it is FedEx who has a hand in the hiring and firing of its truck drivers and several other business terms.

According to Aliyev, the process of firing him started months into the job. An Iowa weigh station complained about his Russian accent. He now works as an independent trucker.

To obtain a Federal commercial driver’s license, an applicant must first demonstrate the ability to communicate in English.

Aliyev reportedly obtained his commercial driver’s license since 2009. The FedEx issue is the first time that Aliyev experienced a work related problem.

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