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Charges filed against an IKEA manager who dismissed an employee for quoting the Bible

Published: 08.06.2020


The District Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw has charged an IKEA human resources manager with restricting employee rights regarding the freedom of religion. Last year, she dismissed an employee for posting Bible passages on the company’s internal forum. The man's post was a reaction to the promotion of LGBT ideology by the group's management. Representing the victim, the Ordo Iuris Institute demands that the termination be deemed null and void, compensation be paid to the victim and additional funds be transferred for a charitable cause.

Mr Tomasz, an IKEA employee at the time, submitted a post containing his negative view of the LGBT ideology on the internal company forum. He used two Bible fragments to support his claims. It was a direct reaction to an article sent to IKEA employees, which promoted the demands of the LGBT movement.

In the termination notice, the company’s management indicated that the dismissal was due to a violation of IKEA's internal regulations, “violation of social coexistence principles” and “loss of trust in the employee.” However, the Ordo Iuris’ assessment indicates that these allegations are unfounded. Referring to the Church's teaching regarding the LGBT ideology cannot be considered a violation of the “social coexistence principles.” The allegation concerning the “loss of trust” is also unwarranted, especially given the fact that Mr Tomasz was repeatedly praised for his work by clients, colleagues and superiors. His salary was being regularly raised as well. According to the Institute, IKEA management’s decision was made solely on an ideological basis.

The company's actions violated several provisions of national and international law alike, primarily art. 53 of the Polish Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion, as well as art. 54 regarding the freedom to hold and express opinions. In addition, IKEA violated articles 11 and 18 of the Labour Code, which prohibit discrimination due to one’s opinions and religion. Finally, the plant managements’ decision goes against art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the freedom to hold and express beliefs to everyone.

Ordo Iuris lawyers filed a lawsuit with the competent court in Kraków on behalf of Mr Tomasz. Mediation talks proved unsuccessful. As of today, the court case has not yet started.

“The Prosecutor's Office decision to initiate criminal proceedings based on the media reports regarding Mr Tomasz’s dismissal from IKEA was fully justified. As Mr Tomasz’s attorneys, both in the civil and the criminal proceedings, we believe that the charges presented were adequate based on the evidence gathered,” said Maciej Kryczka, a lawyer from the Ordo Iuris Litigation Centre.

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