FedEx driver fired over accent? Ismail Aliyev files discrimination lawsuit
Ismail Aliyev was recently fired from FedEx, but he claims it wasn't because of his work ethic. The Utah truck driver has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit where he states that he believes FedEx gave him the axe because of his Russian accent.
"I think for a driver, my English is not too bad," Aliyev told the Associated Press in a phone interview.
In 2005, Aliyev and his family were forced to leave Russia because of the way they, as Turks, were discriminated. The Aliyev family ended up in Utah as political refugees, and Aliyev got his truck license in 2009. His lawyer said he was driving without issue until FedEx decided to terminate him in September.
Aliyev was contracted through the independent truck driving company GNB Trucking, which owns and operates FedEx-brand trucks. Higher ups at GNB told AP that they have no control once FedEx orders a truck driver fired. After Aliyev was told he was losing his job, he offered to fly to FedEx headquarters on his dime to prove that he had passable language skills, but he was turned down. The FedEx manager who ordered Aliyev's firing never spoke to him.
According to the federal discrimination lawsuit Aliyev filed against FedEx, the trouble starts several months into Aliyev's job when GNB received a warning from an Iowa weigh station about his Russian accent. The lawsuit seeks money for lost wages and punitive damages, AP reports. Aliyev is now acting as an independent truck driver.