Polish IKEA manager who fired employee for citing Bible verses wins appeal, case will head to supreme court

A court of appeals found the HR manager not guilty of discrimination on religious grounds over her firing of an employee for his Bible citations opposing the LGBT community

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: wpolityce.pl

The manager of an IKEA store who stood accused of religious discrimination was acquitted by a Polish court in February of this year; now an appeals court has affirmed that decision, ruling the manager justly fired an employee for citing Bible verses in opposition to the LGBT community.

Katarzyna N., the manager of the HR department for the IKEA store in Kraków, had been charged by Polish prosecutors for 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.

The Prosecutor’s Office disagreed with the district court’s verdict and launched an appeal. The appeals court’s decision to uphold the district court’s verdict will now be appealed once again to the Polish Supreme Court.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the manager had violated the rights of an employee who held Catholic values, which led to his dismissal due to her own prejudices. The employee had not discriminated against any member of staff and had only voiced his opposition to LGBT as an ideology. 

The conservative legal organization Ordo Iuris has also appealed against the court’s verdict. The group points to major procedural errors made by the district court. They also point to the court’s decision violating the Polish constitution’s protection of religious faiths and freedom of speech, as well as the Polish labor code, which forbids discrimination of religious beliefs, and Article 10 of the European Human Rights Convention.

According to Ordo Iuris, Janusz Komenda was sacked because he had allegedly lost the confidence of his bosses, but in reality, he had been praised for his work performance and had been given numerous pay raises during his time with the company.

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