Bank settles lawsuit over Nazi-themed training video

by L&D16 May 2016
After enduring depression and seizures, Jean-Marc Orlando has used part of his settlement money in a discrimination case to donate a new Torah scroll to the synagogue at Chabad of the Rivertowns in New York.

However, Orlando’s struggle for justice began five years ago in 2011.

It was then the Orthodox Jew and former employee of the French bank BNP Paribas travelled to a work summit in Amsterdam.

During the summit, Orlando claimed he was forced to attend two mandatory screenings of a training film that depicted BNP Paribas’ competitor, the CEO of Deutsche Bank, as Adolf Hitler.

The subtitled training video was adapted from the 2004 German war movie Downfall.

During the screening, Orlando was overwhelmed with sadness.

The video was particularly disturbing for Orlando because his grandparents lived in Tunisia during the Holocaust and were directly affected by the Nazi regime.

Orlando turned to his friend Rabbi Benjy Silverman, whom he called that night.

"There was no better person to talk to," Orlando was quoted as saying by lohud.com.

"This hit me in my core, and who better to speak to than with my rabbi?"

He later filed a lawsuit and was seeking an apology from the company. However, according to his court complaint, what he got in return was threats.

In 2012, he was fired by the company, and experienced seizures and depression.

Now, Orlando has settled the discrimination case for an undisclosed amount.

The US Magistrate Court Judge Andrew Peck ruled that Orlando had “presented sufficient evidence to allow a reasonable jury to conclude that he was subjected to a hostile work environment because of the two showings of the Hitler video …”

Peck also noted “there is a clear difference between an individual choosing at their discretion to watch a film about Hitler or YouTube footage of this clip in their own time and being forced to watch it twice as part of an offsite training program (where they cannot switch off/leave if it makes them feel uncomfortable).”

The new scroll which Orlando has donated with the settlement money costs around US$40,000.

Orlando said he was making the donation because turning darkness into light is a familiar Jewish story.
 

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