NZ cabbie suspended for refusing to wear a black shirt

October 9, 2009 by J-Wire
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Harald Kleiven, the Norwegian-born Nelson cabbie who refused to wear a black shirt because it reminded him of the Nazis is not Jewish.

Harold in his favourite white shirt

Harold in his favourite white shirt

The 70-yr-old, who can trace his family in Norway back to the 8th century told J-Wire: “I am not Jewish, but my father was a Norwegian resistance fighter during WWII and I still remember the Norwegian collaborators wearing black Nazi shirts threatening to kill my family.  I will not wear one as part of a uniform.”

Kleiven sought compensation from the Employment Relations Authority but today that was refused. Kleiven lived in the tiny Norwegian village of Sykkylven between Bergen and Trondheim until 1951 when the family moved to Wellington before settling in Nelson in 1972.

The Nelson Taxi Society had instructed its drivers to wear the black shirt as part of its uniform in February and Kleiven was suspended when he refused.

He told J-Wire: “I now drive a school bus and although a uniform is not mandatory, there is something nice about it so I wear a white shirt when I am driving.”

Kleiven is not going to appeal the decision to suspend him.

In many Jewish communities following the war, families forbade the wearing of black shirts.

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