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Janusz Komenda legally reinstated at IKEA

Published: 14.11.2023

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· The District Court in Kraków has dismissed IKEA's appeal against a judgment ordering the reinstatement of Janusz Komenda, an employee dismissed for quoting the Bible.

· In December 2022. District Court in Kraków found that the dismissal was unlawful and ordered Janusz Komenda to be reinstated.

· The Court of Second Instance confirmed that the dismissal was unjustified.

· The District Court pointed out that the workplace should be free of worldview indoctrination, and Janusz Komenda could perceive IKEA's action as detrimental to his value system.

· According to the court, the employer should take into account that a large proportion of Poles are Christians and they have the right to their beliefs and to defend them.

· The District Court noted that IKEA could not claim that Janusz Komenda had violated the principles of social co-existence if it had itself violated those principles.

· Janusz Komenda was represented by the Ordo Iuris Institute.

In 2019, an article was posted on the IKEA chain's internal forum by management forming the duty of every employee to be 'LGBT+ inclusive'. Janusz Komenda expressed his critical opinion on the content of the text, using two quotes from the Bible regarding homosexual practices. In response to this post, the company authorities decided to dismiss the employee. Legal assistance to Janusz Komenda was provided by the Ordo Iuris Institute. In December 2022. District Court for Krakow - Nowa Huta ruled that the termination was unlawful and ordered Janusz Komenda to be reinstated.

IKEA appealed against this ruling. However, the Regional Court in Kraków agreed with the court of first instance, indicating that the termination was unjustified. The Regional Court pointed out that the workplace should be free of worldview indoctrination, and Janusz Komenda could perceive IKEA's action as detrimental to his value system. The claimant acted in defence of his values. According to the court, the employer should take into account that a large proportion of Poles are Christians and that they have the right to their beliefs and to defend them. The District Court noted that IKEA could not claim that Janusz Komenda had violated the principles of social co-existence when it had itself violated these principles.

During the hearing, one of IKEA's attorneys made a speech resembling a political manifesto, characteristic of the LGBT movement, going beyond the subject matter of the proceedings, which was also emphasised by Paweł Szafraniec, representing Ordo Iuris. 

In his reply, att. Szafraniec pointed out that behind the LGBT acronym there are a number of demands for profound social change, in particular the desire to "deconstruct and destabilise the categories of gender and sexuality", and asked whether IKEA's employees should also incorporate these demands into their perception of the world.He also juxtaposed the defendant company's way of doing things with the mechanisms of the workplace during the communist era, pointing to the practices of violating the consciences of 'non-conscientious' workers.

An appeal against last year's decision of the District Court was also filed by the Ordo Iuris Institute. This is because the court found that the employer's decision did not constitute discrimination against Janusz Komenda on religious grounds and dismissed the claim for compensation for the employee.The Ordo Iuris Institute stressed that the reason for Janusz Komenda's dismissal was his expression of his commitment to Christian values. The lawyers pointed out that the court itself found Janusz Komenda's testimony to be fully credible, and yet it was clear from it that during the conversation preceding his dismissal, the management had resented precisely the quotations from Scripture. The Institute therefore pointed out that if the court found the employee's testimony credible, it should also conclude that he had been expelled precisely for these quotes. The employee had in the past enjoyed a good reputation with superiors, co-workers and clients. His salary had been increased several times and he had also received various awards.

However, the Regional Court also dismissed the Institute's appeal. According to the court, the reason for Janusz Komenda's dismissal was not the origin of the citations, but their content.

"In spite of this, the final decision of the Regional Court in Krakow is a milestone towards the protection of freedom of expression, religious freedom. It seems to constitute a dam for large corporations which, going beyond the framework of the employment relationship, impose a left-wing ideology on their employees, and punish those who do not accept it with disciplinary action and ultimately with dismissal. The court's ruling also echoes the right of Christians to defend their values, especially in the Republic, where they make up a significant part of society.Mr Janusz has been legally reinstated, and at the same time the foundation of a democratic state, which is freedom of speech, has been strengthened," points out Paweł Szafraniec of the Ordo Iuris Litigation Centre. 

 

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