A court in the Polish city of Kraków has ordered IKEA to reinstate a staff member dismissed for citing the Bible to voice criticism of the LGBT community on an internal company forum, ruling that the dismissal had been unlawful and ordered the company to pay the costs of the court case.
The legal dispute arose as a result of events that took place in 2019 when IKEA ran a positive article on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. Responding on an internal forum, a staff member, Janusz Komenda, wrote that acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and other deviations is immoral and backed up his words with passages from the Bible that declared same-sex relations as obscene and immoral.
The man was officially fired for anti-social behavior and for losing the trust of his employer. However, lawyers from Polish Ordo Iuris legal institute argued that the real reason for his dismissal was his expression of his Catholic beliefs. Komenda had been regularly assessed as a good employee and had been promoted and his salary increased, therefore, there was little evidence of his employer having lost confidence in him.
According to Ordo Iuris, the IKEA decision violated the Polish constitution which guarantees the right to hold religious beliefs and to express one’s faith. The decision also violated Polish labor laws which forbid discrimination on the ground of faith and beliefs, as well as the European Human Rights Convention which protects the right to express deeply held religious views.
At the beginning of December, another Krakow court had upheld the appeal against a separate court verdict that dismissed the prosecution against the HR manager who had dismissed Komenda. That case will now go to the Supreme Court.
According to Ordo Iuris, the way the employer acted against Komenda was an example of discrimination against Christians in the workplace. This is because the employee had been forced to accept the ideology of others while his right to express his views had been negated.