Your social media presence is now being more scrutinized than ever. From making assumptions about people to axing them from their positions at work, a lot has been happening based on individuals’ private opinions expressed on social media.
What we have now is one such case where an employee of the BP refinery in Australia was fired for taking a jibe at the company through a well-known Hitler meme online. But unlike most other cases where people simply lose their livelihoods due to the content they post online, in this case, the employee ended up getting awarded a whopping $200,000 payout for his wrongful dismissal.
Scott Tracey used the popular meme from the movie Downfall to comically portray his company’s debacles when it came to wage negotiations.
The scene which was used for the meme had an angry Hitler confronting his generals. The funny meme did not sit well with the company and it took the drastic step of firing him from his position.
Tracey then took up his case to a tribunal and insisted that he was fired on unfair grounds. While BP refinery said that the meme was “highly offensive and inappropriate,” Tracey argued that it was just plain humor and wasn’t done to offend anybody. The tribunal he appealed to ended up siding with BP and dismissed Tracey’s case.
But that did not stop the former employee, as he then ended up moving on to a federal court, which ultimately ruled that the meme was not necessarily equating the organization’s managers to Hitler and dismissing an employee on such grounds was unfair.
As he had endured a two-year long legal battle, Tracey was awarded $177,325 to compensate for his lost wages and bonuses, alongside another $24,070 for superannuation/pension payments.
BP, however, wasn’t happy with the ruling and said that Tracey must only be paid $150,000 because he could have found work during that time and also because the meme he shared was also internally circulated among their employees which. according to the company, was misconduct.
Condemning BP’s efforts to prolong the matter further, Brad Gandy, the secretary at Australian Workers Union said to the SMH: “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 behavior.”