Fired for having an accent?

HRM 30 Nov 2012

As the world gets more global, workers become more mobile, bringing along their various cultures, customs and yes, even accents.

However, diversity may not be so welcomed everywhere as a US-based truck driver has alleged that he has been fired for his Russian accent, even though he offered to appear before management to demonstrate his English-speaking abilities.

Ismail Alivev has filed a discrimination lawsuit against FedEx and the long-haul contractor that employed him and ordered to do the firing, GNB Trucking.

"I think for a driver, my English is not too bad," said Aliyev, now an independent trucker, was quoted as saying in The Associated Press.

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

Wilde said the firing was ordered by a FedEx manager who didn't bother to speak with Aliyev, and that Aliyev offered to fly to FedEx headquarters to demonstrate his language skills but was rejected.

GNB Trucking said FedEx controls the hiring and firing of its truck drivers and other business terms.

"We haven't fired anyone for that [foreign accent]," said Ben Ishhanov, manager at GNB Trucking, 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."

The lawsuit is still ongoing at this point in time.



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