FedEx Fires Driver For Russian Accent

Owen Poindexter
FedEx ordered a company it contracts with, GNB, to fire Ismail Aliyev because his Russian accent made him difficult for some to understand.

FedEx fired an employee and he came back with a lawsuit--one that will be hard to beat. PHOTO Reuters

Well this looks bad. FedEx has reportedly fired one of its drivers because his Russian accent made him hard to understand, particularly over the phone. Ismail Aliyev has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit, and has offered to speak with higher-ups, to show that he can be understood.

"I think for a driver, my English is not too bad," said Aliyev, now an independent trucker.

This is one of those cases where the policy is questionable, but the optics for FedEx are brutal. Compounding this is that FedEx isn’t talking, and Aliyev’s lawyer, Robert H. Wilde, is.

His accent is “very understandable," said Wilde. "GNB said he was an excellent employee and would like to keep him, but it was instructed by FedEx to terminate him,” he added, referring to Aliyev’s direct employer which contracts with FedEx.

Whether FedEx is a discriminatory organization or not, they sure look like one right now, and they would be best served by cleaning up this mess pronto, even if that means having a driver who isn’t the easiest to understand.