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Lawsuit: FedEx Fires Driver Over Russian Accent

"It really does hurt," said Elshad Aliyev, who speaks flawless English. "We lost everything in Russia."

He said his father can be a little hard to understand on a telephone but "if you would talk to him personally, you could communicate well enough."

GNB Trucking said FedEx controls the hiring and firing of its truck drivers and a host of other business terms. Ben Ishhanov, a manager for the trucking outfit, speculated that Ismail Aliyev had flunked an English test given by a FedEx field office after his hiring.

His son, however, maintains Ismail Aliyev passed that test.

"He was told to write something on a blackboard and read some papers," Elshad Aliyev said.

The GNB manager at first said he didn't recall Ismail Aliyev or being ordered to fire any truck drivers because of their speaking ability.

"We haven't fired anyone for that," said Ishhanov, speaking with what he said was an Armenian accent. Then he added, "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."

Ismail Aliyev has held a commercial license since 2009 and was driving without any problems before FedEx ordered his firing in September, his lawyer said.

"FedEx just decided they didn't want to deal with him, or even talk to him," said Wilde, who filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount for lost wages and punitive damages.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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