Polish court acquits IKEA manager who fired employee for quoting the Bible in response to LGBT community event

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The manager of an IKEA store who stood accused of religious discrimination was acquitted on Friday by a Polish court.

Katarzyna N., the manager of the HR department for the IKEA store in Kraków, had been charged with restricting the rights of Janusz Komenda, an employee who was dismissed in May 2019 for posting Bible quotations on an internal forum in response to an article about the LGBT community.

The IKEA store had declared a “day of solidarity with LGBT persons,” an announcement to which the employee wrote: “The acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and other deviations is scandalous.”

Komenda later posted two biblical quotations: “He who lies with a man as with a woman commits an abomination; both will be put to death and their blood is upon them;” and “Woe to him through whom scandals come, it would be better for him to have a millstone tied around his neck and to plunge him in the depths of the sea.”

The employee was subsequently fired from his role with IKEA on the grounds of discriminating against the LGBT community. Komenda refused to accept his employer’s decision and decided to file a lawsuit against the IKEA HR manager who had fired him. The manager, Katarzyna N., was accused of restricting the rights of Janusz Komenda due to his religious affiliation.

Last week, a district court in Kraków acquitted Katarzyna N. of the charges. Her lawyer, Daniel Książek, informed that the “court did not have the slightest doubts” that the actions undertaken by his client, and therefore IKEA, were completely in accordance with the law.

“The employee had published a post whose content included two quotes taken out of context. It was also supported by a comment which, according to experts, could insult people from the LGBT+ environment,” Książek stated.

“The court clearly noted that the post did not reflect the Church’s teaching in this matter, as it considers the sphere of morality,” he added.

The prosecutor’s office has disagreed with the court’s verdict and announced an appeal. According to the spokeswoman of the Warsaw Praga District Prosecutor’s Office, the manager had violated the rights of an employee who held Catholic values and led to his dismissal due to her own prejudices.

The spokeswoman added that the man’s entries were not an attack against a particular coworker, but merely a response to the employer’s previous actions which promoted the LGBT ideology.

Janusz Komenda himself has been considering an appeal. He is represented by attorney Maciej Kryczka of the Ordo Iuris legal institute.

“I do not agree with this verdict. We will definitely file a motion for a written justification and most likely will appeal,” he said.

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