WASHINGTON, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – A former FedEx truck driver in the United States has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit claiming he was fired because of his Russian accent, according to the Associated Press (AP).
“I think for a driver, my English is not too bad,” said Ismail Aliyev, who is now an independent trucker, in an interview with the AP on Wednesday.
Aliyev also filed suit against GNB Trucking Company, of Salt Lake City, Utah, the long-haul contractor that employed him and claimed they were ordered by FedEx to do the firing.
According to reports, the company warned Aliyev months earlier about his Russian accent, stating one of the requirements to hold a commercial driver’s license is the ability to communicate.
“If FedEx told us to fire a driver, we can’t do anything about that. Some guys don’t know any English. That’s the problem,” said Ben Ishhanov, a manager for GNB, according to the AP.
Aliyev has an accent “but it’s very understandable,” said Robert Wilde, his attorney. “GNB said he was an excellent employee and would like to keep him, but it was instructed by FedEx to terminate him.”
Wilde told reporters the firing was ordered by a FedEx manager who never even spoke with Aliyev, and when his client offered to fly to the company’s headquarters in the state of Tennessee to showcase his language skills, he was turned down.
“FedEx just decided they didn’t want to deal with him, or even talk to him,” said Wilde.
According to reports, the lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount for lost wages and other damages.