Amazon Neo-Nazi Guards Fired in Germany After Immigrant Harassment Claims

Guards would search employee's belongings and mistreat them

By Raluca Anghel on February 19th, 2013 10:33 GMT

Amazon Germany has fired security guards with alleged Neo-Nazi ties, following the release of a documentary showing them mistreating immigrant storage workers.

Sky News reports that the guards were employed by Hensel European Security Services, with the initials HESS, reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolph Hess.

The film, broadcast by ARD in Germany, revealed how the security guards harassed foreign workers at a company warehouse in Bad Hersfeld.

The guards would shave their heads and wear black uniforms, as well as Thor Steinar jackets, a brand known for its association with far-right politics in Germany.

They allegedly kept employees, some of which came from Spain, under permanent surveillance and issued repeated threats against them.

When a female Spanish employee complained about their attitude, she was terminated the following day.

Other claims include that of seasonal foreign workers having their belongings searched, being promised employment with Amazon and ending up signing contracts with a temp agency.

"The accusation that our company harbors far-right views or supports them is false," HESS responds to allegations in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Amazon issued a press release announcing their ending the contract with the security firm, "with immediate effect."

She explains the company's decision by stressing Amazon's "zero-tolerance" to "discrimination and intimidation," expecting "the same of other companies it works with."

German employment minister Ursula von der Leyen has stepped in, launching an investigation into how the temp agency conducts its business.

"There is a strong suspicion here, which is why we need to lay all the facts on the table.

"If the investigation shows there is something to the accusations against the temporary placement agency then its license is at risk," von der Leyen says.

Amazon, a U.S.-based venture with seven packing and distribution centers in Germany, has also come under fire for its association with HESS, which raises questions about the company's treatment of seasonal staff.
Foreign seasonal workers are pictured in Amazon's Bad Hersfeld warehouse, in central Germany
   Foreign seasonal workers are pictured in Amazon's Bad Hersfeld warehouse, in central Germany
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