Bloomberg News

Amazon Fires German Security Company Amid Worker Abuse Claims

February 18, 2013

Amazon.com Inc (AMZN:US)., the world’s largest online retailer, fired a security company in Germany over alleged abuse of workers.

Amazon confirmed today it ended its business relationship with security company Hensel European Security Services. The company was criticized in a program by German television channel ARD last week for mistreating temporary workers at a German logistics center.

“The criticized security service is not used any longer,” Ulrike Stoecker, a Munich-based spokeswoman for Amazon in Germany, said in an e-mail. “Amazon has zero-tolerance for discrimination and intimidation.” Amazon employs about 8,000 workers in logistics, she said.

HESS security staff allegedly harassed temporary workers and searched their rooms, according to the ARD report. The job seekers, mainly from eastern Europe and Spain, were attracted to work at the Bad Hersfeld logistics center by recruiting companies, ARD said on its website, referring to a program it showed last week. The workers also suffered from poor salaries and temporary, crowded housing in holiday villages.

Security personnel who allegedly harassed foreign workers were linked to neo-Nazi groups, ARD said.

Hensel European Security denied any connection with far- right radicalism, a company official said, referring to an earlier statement from Chief Executive Officer Patrick Hensel.

The German government will examine the activities of a temporary-employment company that provides personnel to Amazon.com, Labor Ministry spokeswoman Christina Wendt said. The company’s license could be revoked if any wrongdoing is found, she said.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net;


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