Ismail Aliyev, a Utah truck driver, was fired from his job at FedEx because of his Russian accent and filed a suit against the Memphis, Tenn.-based shipping company.
According to The Associated Press, Aliyev was fired because of his accent despite offering to demonstrate his English-speaking skills to the corporate office.
Aliyev said he was given a warning without a citation months ago at an Iowa weigh station over his Russian accent.
"I think for a driver, my English is not too bad," Aliyev told The Associated Press Wednesday.
His lawyer, Robert H. Wilde, said Aliyev has an accent "but it's very understandable."
He was working for GNB Trucking Co. in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Valley, which owns and operates FedEx trucks.
"GNB said he was an excellent employee and would like to keep him, but it was instructed by FedEx to terminate him," Wilde said.
Aliyev filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against FedEx and the contractor that he was directly employed with Friday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, seeking an unspecified amount for lost wages and punitive damages.
Wilde said Aliyev was ordered to be fired by a FedEx manager who never heard his accent. Aliyev reportedly offered to fly to the FedEx headquarters to prove his ability to speak, a requirement in order to work for the company, but his request was turned down.
"FedEx just decided they didn't want to deal with him, or even talk to him," Wilde said.