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BP worker who was wrongly sacked for sharing an Adolf Hitler meme is awarded $200,000 compensation

A BP worker who was wrongly sacked after privately sharing a version of a Hitler parody video during pay negotiations has been awarded $200,000 in compensation.  

BP technician Scott Tracey, from Perth, was fired in 2018 after sharing a meme made by his wife in a private Facebook group of friends and colleagues that took a jab at the heated and protracted enterprise bargaining processes at the company.

The parody video was based on a clip from the 2004 German movie Downfall showing a highly agitated Adolf Hitler in his final hours.  

The oil and gas giant alleged the parody video depicted the negotiating team as Nazis and breached the company’s code of conduct.

Mr Tracey claimed unfair dismissal, which the Fair Work Commission rejected in September last year, ruling the video inappropriate and offensive.

But he won his job back on appeal after the full bench of the commission found it was satirical. BP then challenged that finding in the Federal Court, which was dismissed.

Mr Tracey recommenced his position at the BP Kwinana oil refinery in south-west Perth in March. 

On Monday, he was awarded compensation for the time missed out of work.

BP argued Mr Tracey should only be awarded about $150,000 with a further amount deducted as he could have found other work while his case was before the court.

The company claimed the reduce sum, which is less than what he would have otherwise earned, reflects the misconduct on his behalf, even if the video did not warrant dismissal.

However, the Fair Work Commission ruled the misconduct was only serious enough for Mr Tracey to miss out on the pay increase of a potential promotion.

BP were ordered to pay $177,324.93 in lost salary and bonuses, less tax, and $24,069.99 in superannuation.

Australian Workers Union West Australian secretary Brad Gandy, who represented Mr Tracey, said the union was pleased by the decision.

However, he said ‘it doesn’t make up for the completely unnecessary drama and heartache Mr Tracey has been dragged through’.

‘We hope this marks the end of a truly unedifying chapter for BP management,’ Mr Gandy told the Sydney Morning Herald . 

‘To dig in and drag an honest worker through nearly two years of stress and uncertainty, all because a few stuffed shirts didn’t get a joke, is poor corporate behaviour.’  

The Downfall meme format has been widely circulating on the internet for more than a decade, with users adding their own subtitles to a clip from the film, called Der Untergang in German.

A BP spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the company would be reviewing the decision.

‘We remain committed to upholding our values and behaviours consistently across our company, including at offices, refineries, and retail sites,’ he said.

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