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1 Jul, 2019 14:02

‘Unacceptable & scandalous’: IKEA faces probe in Poland after sacking anti-LGBT worker

‘Unacceptable & scandalous’: IKEA faces probe in Poland after sacking anti-LGBT worker

A Polish branch of home furniture retailer IKEA is facing a public backlash and an official inquiry, after it fired a worker who refused to support and posted a denunciation of a pro-LGBT corporate event.

A man named in Polish media as Tomasz K., a long-term employee at IKEA’s Krakow store, was recently dismissed after he’d posted a quote from the Bible in response to a notice on the retailer’s intranet that advertised a gay pride event. The verses in question denounced homosexuality. The fired worker then filed a lawsuit accusing the furniture retailer of religious discrimination. His move immediately drew the attention of the predominant and devout Catholic community in Poland.

I regard the [case] as discrimination and a violation of freedom of conscience and religion,” the country’s vice-minister of justice Marcin Romanovsky wrote in a statement

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On Friday, Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro announced he had ordered the country’s prosecutor’s office to probe the case. He described the incident as “unacceptable” and “absolutely scandalous, if confirmed.”

Following the news, the retailer said it had sacked Tomasz K. for insulting the feelings of LGBT people “using quotes from the Old Testament about death and blood in the context of what fate should meet homosexual people.” 

However, the former employee, together with the legal group Ordo Iuris, which is representing his interests, deny that his statement contained any threat or insult.

They claim instead that the actions of the retailer were legally unacceptable and that IKEA was attempting to “censor the Holy Bible” by justifying the dismissal of a worker based on a quote from it. 

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Vice-Minister Romanovsky said Sunday that no employee in Poland should be forced to promote the LGBT ideology as, according to the country’s constitution and criminal legislation, no one can be forced to act contrary to his conscience or the religion he or she professes. 

I expect that [the retailer] will not only change its outrageous decision to dismiss the employee in question, but also apologizes to the Polish public for their unacceptable actions,” Romanovsky told Polish radio. He also said that the prosecutor’s office has been getting new reports from IKEA’s employees about similar cases of alleged violations of their rights. Later on Sunday, a second employee quit the company in solidarity with Tomasz K.

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