BP | Worker sacked after Hitler meme wins £100k payout

Worker sacked after Hitler meme wins £100k payout

Most will believe that the posts they share on social media won’t get them into trouble, as it is their own personal account. However, one worker has faced the consequences of their actions.

After sharing a meme featuring Adolf Hitler, a BP worker was fired from their position at one of the firm’s Australian refineries.

According to Sky News, Scott Tracey posted a video from the 2004 movie Downfall on a closed Facebook group with colleagues, and as a result, was fired after BP branded the video ‘highly offensive and inappropriate’.

Despite the employer’s decision to remove him from the business, Tracey has now been awarded £109,000 (AUS$200,000) in compensation.

Tracey was fired after bosses saw the video in 2018, which his wife had added subtitles to, depicting the Nazi leader complaining about the oil and gas company’s ongoing wage negotiations.

When he was fired, Tracey initially lost his unfair dismissal case when a Fair Work Commissioner declared that he had compared his superiors to Nazis.

However, he was later reinstated after a full bench at the tribunal agreed and accepted his argument that the video was intended merely as a joke.

Now back at his post stationed at BP Kwinana oil refinery in Perth, the tribunal was able to come to a conclusion when the Fair Work Commission ordered the organisation to pay him £96,995.85 (AUS$177,324.93) in lost salary and bonuses and £13,187.20 (AUS$24,069.99) in superannuation.

Despite the outcome, BP has revealed in a statement that it will be reviewing the commission’s decision.

Australian Workers Union West Australian Secretary Brad Gandy, who represented Tracey added: “We hope this marks the end of a truly unedifying chapter for BP management.

“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.”

Can you sack staff over social media posts?

Several cases have hit headlines over recent years where employees have lost their jobs as a result of a post they shared on social media. Back in June last year, an Asda employee was removed from their post after it was discovered that they breached the company’s social media policy by posting an ‘anti-religion’ sketch by comedian Billy Connolly on Facebook.

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In addition, an employee from bakery firm Panera Bread also revealed how she was fired after she disclosed details online about how the company makes its famous mac and cheese dish. However, a lawyer previously shared with HR Grapevine that while there are little guidelines around how an employer should deal with an employee’s conduct online, employers will have a case for dismissal if a post is considered derogatory towards the business.

Amanda Lathia, Solicitor in the Business Services Department at Hunters, said: “Where an employee has a non-work related private profile and posts derogatory comments about his/her employer, this can give rise to the employer having a fair reason for dismissal because the post, even if only seen by his/her friends, can be shared numerous times and potentially cause reputational damage to the employer, effectively creating a ‘connection to work’.”

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