Nazi Salute at Work? Heil Unemployment, German Court Rules

German man fired after giving Nazi salute during dispute with employer as tribunal rules heiling Hitler is grounds for dismissal.

Nationalist demonstrators raise their hands in a Nazi salute, Moscow, Russia, November 4, 2013.
Ivan Sekretarev, AP

A German employment tribunal ruled on Thursday that a Nazi salute is grounds for dismissal after a driver for a patient transfer service filed a legal complaint against his employer.

The driver, a German man of Turkish descent, had given a Nazi salute during a dispute with his employer, prompting the chairman of the company to fire him immediately.

The tribunal dismissed the plaintiff's argument that he couldn't have meant to convey a right-wing extremist ideology because of his Turkish descent.

In Germany, Nazi salutes - whether in written form or expressed vocally - are illegal and punishable by up to three years in prison.

Cop sent to prison for pulling over car with Nazi salute in Austria

Meanwhile, an Austrian court has found a police officer guilty of contravening anti-Nazi laws by saying "Heil Hitler" while on duty at the border to Hungary and sentenced him to a suspended 9-month prison term.

The 29-year old was found guilty Thursday on the basis of testimony from fellow officers. One said he heard him speak the words, while the other testified that he was present when he later apologized for saying them.

Prosecutor Christian Peto told the court in the eastern city of Eisenstadt that after stopping a car on the border with Hungarian license plates earlier this year "the accused began official duties with the words 'Heil Hitler.'"

The officer, who was not identified in line with Austrian confidentiality laws, denied uttering the phrase.