Polish IKEA fires employee for Biblical opposition to pride event

IKEA Credit Gints Ivuskans  Shutterstock IKEA. | Gints Ivuskans / Shutterstock.

An Ikea worker in Poland has filed a lawsuit after being fired last week for posting Bible verses opposing homosexual behavior on the company's intranet.

Tomasz K is suing after he was terminated from his position at the furniture store in Krakow.

Poland Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro has also asked the national prosecutor's office to look into the case.

The issue arose when employees were asked to attend a pro-LGBT event at the company.

In response, Tomasz said that he objected to the promotion of homosexuality. He posted two verses from Scripture: "Woe to him through whom scandals come, it would be better for him to tie a millstone around his neck and plunge him in the depths of the sea," (Matthew 18:6) and, "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," (Leviticus 20:13).

Ikea then fired Tomasz. The company said in a statement that he was terminated for "using quotes from the Old Testament about death and blood in the context of what fate should meet homosexual people" and "expressing his opinion in a way that could affect the rights and dignity of LGBT+ people," according to news.com.au.

Tomasz's attorney, however, says he was simply exercising his protected right to express his religious beliefs.

Tomasz told TVP Info that his job was to sell furniture, not to promote same-sex ideology. When asked to take down the Bible verses he had posted, he said, "as a Catholic, I cannot censor God."

"I do not think it was my duty. ... [I] quoted two quotations from the Holy Scriptures: about stumbling and about the fact that the cohabitation between two men is an abomination," he said, according to TVP Info.

After Tomasz was fired, another employee also quit in solidarity with him.

"[If Ikea] promotes equality and diversity towards people, why was this situation where the Catholic expresses his opinion and is thrown out of work for it?" the employee said, according to the TVP Info.

A spokeswoman for Ikea holding company Ingka Group issued a statement to news.com.au saying that in the company's view, "Using your religion background as a reason for excluding others is considered discrimination."

"At Ingka Group we believe everyone has the right to be treated fairly and be given equal opportunities whatever their gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, age, nationality, religion and/or any other dimension of their identity," she said.

"Inclusion at Ingka Group means respecting our individual differences and creating a safe environment for all. Everyone's views and opinions are welcome with the common goal to build a great place to work."

Tomasz is represented by the legal group Ordo Iuris. The group's chairman, Jerzy Kwasniewski, argued that it is illegal to censor the Bible, and said the move was oppressive to Tomasz's rights.

"The insinuation contained in the Ikea statement is unacceptable and violates Mr Tomasz's personal rights," he said, according to New.com.au. "[It] can be read as motivated by prejudices against Christians."

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