Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/19/amazon_security_harassment_germany/

Amazon ditches 'neo-Nazi' security firm over alleged harassment of workers

Etailer ends contract after documentary about guards at 'holiday camps'

By Brid-Aine Parnell

Posted in Law, 19th February 2013 16:36 GMT

Amazon has ditched a security firm accused of mistreating temporary workers at one of the etailer's German warehouses in Bad Hersfeld.

The web bazaar said it took the allegations against the warehouse guards "very seriously" and said it was terminating its contract with the company in question, Hensel European Security Services (Hess).

"Amazon is responsible for ensuring associates working in our fulfilllment centres are safe and treated with respect and dignity at all times and we constantly work to improve our processes in this regard," the company said in an emailed statement.

"It is clear that we failed to hold the contractor who was responsible for managing lodging, transportation and the security company for our temporary associates up to our high standards. Therefore we are ending our relationship with this company.

"We recently removed the security service from all of our locations. We have zero tolerance for discrimination and intimidation and we expect the same from companies working with us."

German state broadcaster ARD aired a documentary last week on employees' conditions in the holiday camps, where workers brought to Germany on temp contracts for Amazon's Christmas rush. During the documentary, as detailed by German news site The Local, workers claimed their rooms at the so-called "holiday camps" where they were given accommodation had been searched and said they were frisked at breakfast. There was also a suggestion that migrant workers from Spain and Poland got worse treatment from the security guards.

Hess has denied that it illegally searched staff accommodation or harassed workers based on their ethnicity. In a statement, Hess claimed that 70 per cent of its own staff have a foreign background, including people with Turkish, Polish and Czech roots.

Guards in the documentary were dressed in Thor Steinar branded clothes, a brand linked with neo-Nazism, which has been banned at football matches and by the German parliament.

Hess said that following the report, it had prohibited its employees from wearing such clothing. ®