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KEA unlawfully fired employee. Janusz Komenda reinstated

Published: 23.12.2022

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- The District Court for Krakow - Nowa Huta has ordered the reinstatement of Janusz Komenda, an IKEA employee, declaring the termination unlawful.
- Janusz Komenda was fired in 2019 after he quoted passages of Scripture on the company's internal forum and expressed a negative opinion of the LGBT movement's demands.
- The employee's entry was a reaction to the employer's promotion of such ideological content, unrelated to the employment relationship.
- The aggrieved party was represented in the proceedings by the Ordo Iuris Institute.

In 2019, the company's authorities posted content promoting the demands of LGBT organizations on an employee forum. This was reacted to by company employee Janusz Komenda, who published a comment containing two quotes from the Bible referring to homosexual practices and his own opinion on the subject. The company's management then decided to terminate Janusz Komenda's employment contract. People who "liked" the employee's post were also reprimanded. 

The dismissal of the employee was supposedly due to alleged "violation of the principles of social intercourse" and "loss of trust by the employer." However, as Ordo Iuris lawyers point out, the real reason for the termination was the employee's expression of his commitment to Catholic teaching. Also, the claim of "loss of trust by the employer" is not supported. This is because Janusz Komenda was well appreciated for his work by his superiors, as well as by his co-workers and clients. His salary was raised several times. 

The IKEA authorities' decision violated numerous provisions of domestic and international law, primarily Article 53 of the Polish Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion, and Article 54 ensuring freedom to hold and proclaim opinions. Articles 11(3) and 18(3a) of the Labor Code, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of opinion and religion, were also violated. The company also violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees freedom to hold and proclaim one's beliefs. 

On the initiative of the Ordo Iuris Institute, proceedings were initiated for IKEA's violation of labor law. The District Court in Krakow issued a judgment declaring Janusz Komenda's dismissal unlawful. The court ordered that he be reinstated on his previous terms and conditions. IKEA was also ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings. 

- The employer's action was an attempt to "break the conscience" of the employee. The decision to fire Janusz Komenda is an example of discrimination against Christians in the workplace. This is because the aggrieved person was obliged to recognize the ideology of others, while at the same time the employer negated the employee's right to express his own beliefs," noted attorney Maciej Kryczka of the Ordo Iuris Center for Litigation Intervention.

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