A worker at furniture retailer Ikea has been fired from his job after he refused to participate in a pro-LGBT event and posted Bible verses about homosexuality on social media.
In a case that draws similarities with that of Rugby star Israel Folau, the polish worker was dismissed after refusing to take down a series of Bible verses he had posted in response to a notice on the company’s internal communications system that was promoting a pro-LGBT event.
“I was shaken up,” the man, named in the media as Tomasz K, told
Polish national broadcaster TVP Info last week, according to Church Militant. “I’ve been hired to sell furniture but I’m a Catholic and these aren’t my values.”
According to a discrimination lawsuit lodged by the disgruntled employee,
Ikea had urged workers to participate in International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on May 16 and “to stand up for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender plus people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”
The company’s head of equality, diversity and integration, Sari Brody, subsequently instructed that employees “ask for the transgender person’s preferred pronoun (hers, theirs, etc.)” and “engage LGBT+ people in conversations about their partners and families.”
In response, Tomasz penned a social media post in which he wrote that the “acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and other deviations is a source of scandal.” He also posted two Bible verses on the issue:
“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.
The worker insisted that his job description instructs him to simply sell furniture and not to support “so-called LGBT values” or promote “ideological propaganda.”
“I do not think it was my duty. I put my entry, in which I expressed that it is unacceptable, and quoted two quotations from the Holy Scriptures — about stumbling and about the fact that intercourse between two men is an abomination,” he said.
After being ordered to attend a disciplinary hearing, management demanded that he take the posts down. But he refused. “As a Catholic, I cannot censor God,” he said. “I was told there would be consequences.”
Just a matter of days later, the employee was “informed immediately that Ikea decided to terminate the employment contract, I was supposed to pack right away, empty the cabinet, give up my ID.”
In response to the subsequent press attention, Ikea admitted that it had fired the man 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.”
Legal battle launched
Now, Mr. Tomasz is fighting back. Represented by conservative legal group Ordo Iuris, he is suing for wrongful termination and has accused Ikea of issuing a false statement about his dismissal.
“The insinuation contained in the Ikea statement is unacceptable and violates Mr Tomasz’s personal rights,” Ordo Iuris chairman Jerzy Kwasniewski explained, noting that it “can be read as motivated by prejudices against Christians”.
Ikea was attempting to “censor the Holy Bible” and calling the “Old Testament “legally unacceptable,” Kwasniewski added.
The country’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro has called the case a “shocking matter” and “absolutely scandalous if confirmed” — he has ordered the prosecutors office to investigate.