Good to know the Fair Work Commission can take a joke like the rest of us. Although it initially upheld the dismissal of a BP Refinery employee for sharing the popular Hitler meme from the film Downfall, on appeal, the FWC grew a sense of humour and reinstated the worker.
First some context. In the pantheon of internet memes, it doesn't get much bigger than Hitler Downfall parodies. The film rightfully depicts Hitler as a ranting lunatic. Enter the internet, which has comedic amateurs editing parts of the film to have Hitler ranting about all sorts of trivial or irreverent matters: Hitler rants about Twitter going down, Hitler rants about not being able to find Wally, Hitler rants about reality TV show break-ups, and so on.
The meme was created and posted by a BP worker in a closed Facebook group with other BP employees as a comment on the company's reaction to a protracted wage dispute. Clearly Fuhrious with the Nazi comparisons, BP sacked the worker after learning about the post.
While it took a couple of cracks, the FWC finally got the joke on appeal. It held that the meme didn't go so far as likening BP management to Hitler or Nazis. Rather, it was a satirical take on frustrated pay negotiations.
While we're pleased the decision confirms that taking the piss out of management has its place, context is everything. If it were not for the prominence of the Downfall meme and the circumstances in which it was used by the worker, it would have resulted in a very different outcome. Likening your boss to Hitler still remains a generally bad idea.
Nevertheless, it's good that there's still room for a bit of laughter in the workplace.