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Driver Sacked for Accent

SALT LAKE CITY— A Utah truck driver alleges FedEx fired him because of his Russian accent, even though he offered to appear before corporate higher-ups to demonstrate his English-speaking abilities.

Ismail Aliyev filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Memphis, Tennessee-based shipping company and the long-haul contractor that employed him and was ordered to fire him.

Aliyev said his trouble started months into the job when an Iowa weigh station gave his company a warning — but not a citation — about his Russian accent. One of the requirements for holding a commercial driver's license is the ability to communicate.

"He has an accent. But it's very understandable," Robert Wilde, Aliyev's lawyer, said Wednesday. "GNB said he was an excellent employee and would like to keep him, but it was instructed by FedEx to terminate him."


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