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Court backs army‘s dismissal of far-right janitor

July 17, 2019

A Berlin labor court has ruled that the dismissal of a janitor by the German military due to links with the far-right was justified. The employee was fired over his online opinions and membership of an extremist group.

Military jackets
Image: Imago/I. Fassbender

An employment hearing in Berlin on Wednesday vindicated the termination of employment of a Bundeswehr janitor over his links to the far right.

The court ruled that the civilian employee's dismissal over his membership of a far-right group was "basically justified." The individual was said to have attended certain events that had raised concern, and to have expressed his agreement with extremist content online.

The Bundeswehr initially dismissed the individual — who had been employed over several decades — with immediate effect in December last year. It cited concerns about his loyalty to the constitution. This was subsequently changed to a termination with period of notice to September 30 this year.

The man, now aged 62, was working at a Bundeswehr base in the eastern German town of Strausberg, near the Polish border.

Backing the German Defense Ministry's decision, the labor court said the dismissal had been lawful. The tribunal said it believed the notice period was satisfactory "with a view to the existing employment relationship of more than 30 years, and the age of the employee." The court's decision can still be appealed.

Read more: Germany: More right-wing extremist soldiers uncovered than previously reported

According to Germany's Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD), which is responsible for investigating extremism in the German military, two in every thousand soldiers and civilian employees of the Bundeswehr are suspected of extremist tendencies.

Currently, the MAD said, some 500 cases were being investigated among some 250,000 staff.

In February, the Bundeswehr suspended a lieutenant colonel in the elite Special Forces Command commando unit on suspicion of right-wing extremism.

rc/ng (dpa, epd, AFP)

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