Ex-director sues BNP Paribas NA, says he was fired over religion

Ex-director sues BNP Paribas NA, says he was fired over religion

NEW YORK - An Orthodox Jew who was fired from his position as a managing director at BNP Paribas North America Inc sued the bank on Friday, saying he was terminated for his religious beliefs after complaining about Nazi imagery in a training video.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court by Jean-Marc Orlando, an Orthodox Jew who said he had worked for the bank for 18 years until he was terminated in May 2012. Orlando was a managing director in the bank's fixed-income division in New York, and had previously worked for the bank in France, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit alleges that the company eventually fired Orlando from the New York office in a retaliatory move after he complained about a training video he and other managers were shown during a training session in Amsterdam in 2011.

The video, created by BNP employees, was a parody of the 2004 film Downfall, which depicted the final days of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany, the lawsuit said. The film portrayed the head of BNP competitor Deutsche Bank as Hitler, the lawsuit said.

In the lawsuit, Orlando described the video as his "worst nightmare." He said he complained about the video to other employees and to his supervisors, but that his concerns were ignored.

Orlando's lawsuit alleges that he was terminated because of his religious beliefs. He is seeking $40 million in monetary and punitive damages.

As Orlando continued to complain, he said the bank gave him an "unusually and suspiciously poor performance evaluation,"docked his bonus, attempted to transfer him back to France and ultimately fired him from the New York office in 2012.

A spokeswoman for BNP in New York said she had not seen a copy of the complaint and that the bank does not comment on pending litigation. A lawyer for Orlando could not immediately be reached for further comment.

The case is Orlando v. BNP Paribas North America Inc., US District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 14-4102.

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