BP worker gets $200,000 payout after being fired for Hitler meme

Energy

Screenshot from the film Downfall showing Bruno Ganz in a scene portraying Adolf Hitler.

Source: Constantin Film

A refinery worker in Australia has been awarded almost $200,000 in compensation by BP after being fired over a Hitler meme he shared which appeared to mock his bosses over pay negotiations. 

Australia’s Fair Work Commission ruled Monday that BP should pay Scott Tracey $177,324.93 in lost pay and bonuses, minus tax, in addition to $24,069.99 in pension contributions. Tracey was also rehired by the oil giant. 

Tracey was fired last year for sharing a video which appeared to make fun of his bosses’ handling of wage negotiations. His wife claimed to have made the video. 

It features a well-known clip from the 2004 German-language film Downfall, which depicts Hitler ranting to generals after hearing the news he has lost World War II. The video has famously been used with substituted English subtitles to portray a number of parodied “Hitler rants.” 

BP dismissed Tracey, alleging that the video compared senior management to Nazis and that showing a colleague the clip on a BP computer breached its code of conduct. 

Tracey’s unfair dismissal claim was initially rejected by the FWC in September 2019, when its Deputy President Melanie Binet ruled that the video was “offensive and inappropriate.” 

However, that decision was overturned in February, seeing Tracey reinstated in his job at BP’s Kwinana refinery in Perth, Western Australia.  

FWC committee officials then invited Tracey and BP to submit further evidence as to whether he should receive compensation for his time out of work. As part of this, BP contended that Tracey should be compensated no more than $152,539.19, arguing that his actions still counted as misconduct. 

BP had not responded to CNBC’s request for comment at the time of writing.

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