Construction firm rejects Muslim applicant with shocking letter

A young Muslim applicant for a construction trainee position was rejected with a letter full of discriminatory comments. But the company's boss claims that's not why they turned him down.

The company boss who wrote the startling rejection letter stands by his claims - but Germany's equal treatment law may say otherwise.
The company boss who wrote the startling rejection letter stands by his claims - but Germany's equal treatment law may say otherwise.imago images

Kolkwitz-Krieschow-A Brandenburg construction firm wrote in a rejection letter to a candidate that practicing Muslims are not welcome there. The applicant had applied for an apprenticeship position in construction in the Spree-Neiße area, and published the letter on Twitter.

“In my view, Islam cannot be reconciled with Germany’s constitution,” wrote Frank Pilzecker, CEO of the Asphalt Straßenbau Gesellschaft mbH in Kolkwitz-Krieschow. “In my experience, this is a social system which I would not wish for myself or my surroundings,” he went on. Elsewhere in the letter, Pilzecker wrote that “more suitable candidates” for the role had been found. In 2019, the company was awarded the Brandenburg Training Consensus’ (Brandenburgischer Ausbildungskonsens) training prize.

Boss stands by discriminatory remarks

Responding to an enquiry from rbb (Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg), Pilzecker did not contest his statements. "I cannot employ practicing Muslims because it would cause trouble,” he said. The broadcaster quoted him as saying that one could look up what he meant by "trouble" in any newspaper. He claimed that road construction work is physically demanding, and therefore in his experience is not compatible with fasting during Ramadan.

The company’s social life would also be endangered by the presence of a practicing Muslim colleague, Pilzecker continued: "If a German is eating some liverwurst, then a Muslim will go and sit in another room. We have decided not to take on such a situation." But he maintained that the candidate’s religion had nothing to do with his rejection.

In his rejection letter to the candidate, Pilzecker went on: "Nevertheless, I wish you all the best for the future and hope that you will find your way to your homeland and can live there according to your principles, just as we Germans want to live in our homeland of Germany according to our liberal principles. If you come back to Germany one day as a foreign student or trainee, I will be happy to train you in line with our culture and knowledge."

"Racism in our midst"

Discrimination based on an applicant's faith is a violation of Germany’s Equal Treatment Law. Brandenburg Police tweeted: "The person concerned has the right to report an offence. The rejection on the basis of his religion or origin is a matter of civil law." The Berlin SPD politician Sawsan Chebli described the incident as "racism in our midst."

Aydan Özoğuz, SPD member of the Bundestag and former Minister of State for Migration, Refugees and Integration in the chancellery, demanded that future commissions from the company should be reconsidered. According to Deutschlandfunk, she also "questioned the qualification of the managing director and criticised the worldview being cultivated within the company."