Amazon cuts ties with security firm in Germany over neo-Nazi allegations

Amazon.com today cut ties with a Germany security firm amid an uproar in the country over allegations that security guards mistreated the company’s foreign temporary workers.

A documentary airing on German public television channel ARD last Wednesday broke the story, with footage of the guards from the Hensel European Security Services (HESS). The firm was hired by a subcontractor on Amazon’s behalf. Rudolf Hess was the name of Adolf Hitler’s deputy in the Nazi Party.

The guards wore leather clothing and sported military haircuts very similar to Germany’s neo-Nazi scene. According to interviews in the documentary, workers were paid less than promised and were intimidated by the guards, who would invaded the workers’ privacy during security checks. Guards were also shown harassing the documentary crew.

“Amazon tolerates no discrimination or intimidation,” Amazon spokeswoman Ulrike Stoecker told The Associated Press in an email. “Even though the security company wasn’t hired by Amazon we are of course examining the allegations … and will take appropriate measures immediately.”

Amazon has more than 7,700 permanent workers in Germany and hires many temporary employees for the holiday season. The German government is investigating the Amazon subcontractor.

Previously on GeekWire: Google considering retail store push, but where’s Amazon?