IKEA sacked a homophobe who told co-workers gay people should be killed. Now, it’s being threatened with a lawsuit
IKEA is being threatened with a lawsuit in Poland for sacking a “homophobic” employee who wrote on the company intranet that gay people should be killed.
The former IKEA employee, identified as Tomasz K, said he was fired last year after he refused to take down a homophobic comment he posted on the firm’s internal site.
“Acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and other deviations is scandalous,” he wrote, alongside several anti-gay Bible verses.
IKEA said at the time that the employee had expressed an opinion “in a way that could affect the rights and dignity of LGBT + people”.
“In addition, the employee actually used quotes from the Old Testament about death, blood in the context of what fate should meet homosexual people,” it added. “Many employees raised by this entry contacted our HR department.”
IKEA’s decision to fire the man was in line with the Polish Labour Code, which requires employers to combat discrimination due to sexual orientation — but it caused outrage across country, and the retailer faced a nationwide boycott.
IKEA faces ‘religious rights violation’ charges in Poland.
Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro called IKEA’s actions “absolutely scandalous” and ordered the prosecutor’s office to probe the case.
After a year-long investigation, prosecutors have now decided to charge the human resources manager at IKEA for violating the religious rights of the employee.
The prosecutors’ spokesman, Marcin Saduś, said that the decision to dismiss Tomasz K “was the result of an arbitrary assessment and the prejudice of [the manager] towards the employee who, in expressing his views, referred to Christian values”, reports Wprost.
The Bible verses Tomasz K quoted promise violence towards LGBT+ people, including: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them”.
But prosecutors argue that quoting these verses was “not an attack on a specific person from among his colleagues, but a response to the employer’s action” of marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
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They note that the Polish constitution guarantees freedom of conscience, religion and expression, which makes his statement permissible.
Unfortunately, there is precedent for cases such as this succeeding in Polish courts: justice minister Ziobro recently succeeded in overturning a verdict against a print-shop employee who refused to serve an LGBT+ customer.
In this case the court ruled that Poland’s constitution protects freedom of conscience, which includes “the right not to support homosexual content”.