The giant Internet retailer Amazon has fired its German security firm, HESS, following reports that security staff with alleged neo-Nazi ties treated temporary workers unfairly and with contempt.
The allegations surrounding the Hensel European Security Service (HESS) came to the surface in a documentary expose broadcast last week on the ARD German television channel.
The station filmed secret footage which reportedly showed the staff intimidating foreign workers. Living quarters of temporary staff members were photographed being regularly searched without warning, and the workers underwent body searches after breakfast to ensure they had not stolen rolls from the table.
Several immigrant workers featured in the documentary testified about the treatment they had suffered at the hands of security guards who were employed at the company to “keep the order.”
Guards in military-type uniforms were seen in the footage, patrolling low-cost housing where foreign workers lived mostly in fear. One woman spoke of being harassed into leaving a chalet where she had lived with five others, after drying her clothes on a radiator.
The secret footage also revealed the military style in which employees with far-right links conducted themselves. Uniforms worn by the employees also displayed “HESS” across the chest, which also happens to be the family name of Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess.
Amazon’s Germany-based spokesperson, Ulrike Stoecker told reporters that Amazon has a “zero tolerance policy for discrimination and intimidation and expects the same of other companies it works with.”
In a statement to media on Friday, the company strongly denied the allegations. “We employ Christians, Muslims and Buddhists,” HESS claimed in a statement. “The allegations of far-right sympathies can’t be reconciled with that.”
Nevertheless on Monday Amazon, which is based in the United States, said it had “parted ways” with HESS.