Charges for IKEA manager who fired employee for homophobic remarks
A Polish prosecutor has charged an IKEA manager with religious discrimination for firing an employee who called homosexuality "an abomination" on the company's internal website. At the same time, a Warsaw-based court rejected a private prosecution filed against an anti-LGBT activists Kaja Godek, who had said homosexuals want to adopt children only to abuse them.
The employee at IKEA's Kraków store was fired last year after quoting passages from the Bible referring to homosexuality on the company's intranet and refusing to remove his comments, a spokesman for the Warsaw prosecutor's office said.
IKEA said it was co-operating with the prosecutor to try to resolve the matter promptly. "As an employer, we will provide all the help and support to our charged employee," said a spokeswoman from Ingka Group, which owns most IKEA stores including those in Poland. She gave no further details.
At the time of the employee's dismissal, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said the case was an example of using "legal and economic violence against those who do not share the values of homosexual activists." The prosecutor's office said the employee's rights may have been violated due to his religious beliefs. If convicted, the human resources manager who fired him could face a fine or up to two years in prison. IKEA is also facing a civil lawsuit by the employee for wrongful dismissal.
Unlike nearly all western European countries, which have legalized same-sex marriage and the adoption of children by same-sex couples in recent years, the former Communist countries of the EU's east have mostly held back on expanding gay rights. Poland's ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) says lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) "ideology" is an invasive foreign influence that undermines traditional values in the staunchly Catholic country. It made the issue a key battleground with the more liberal opposition before European elections last May and in a general election last October.
On Wednesday (May 27), the District Court for Warsaw-Praga discontinued an inquiry against an anti-LGBT and pro-life activist Kaja Godek. The case was filed by LGBT+ activists in reaction to Godek's comments made in 2019 in a debate in Polsat News. She said, among other things, that "pederasty is a prelude to paedophilia", and that gay people fight for the right to adopt children "to molest and rape them".
The debate was organised after the premiere of a documentary by the Sekielski brothers titled "Tell No One", addressing the problem of paedophilia and cover-up cases in Poland's Catholic Church.
Seven LGBT+ activists, with support from the Centre for Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Activities, had submitted a private prosecution case against Godek for her comments. The latter, in turn, had asked the court to reject the case, which it did on Wednesday. "The court fully shared the defence's standpoint and found that the plaintiffs failed to prove their legitimacy in this case. We're happy to see, that in such controversial case, pertaining to worldview, the court examined it with a critical, judicial eye," Kaja Godek's attorney, Hubert Kubik said.
The ruling is not yet legally binding, and the plaintiffs said they would appeal against it.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, Reuters
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Shutterstock