In Poland, an HR manager working for IKEA, a global Swedish-origin retail giant selling ready-to-assemble furniture, has been charged for “limiting an employee’s rights on the grounds of religion”. The “homophobic” employee was sacked for writing on the company intranet that gay people should be killed.
The former IKEA employee, identified as Tomasz K, said he was fired in 2019 after he refused to take down a homophobic comment he posted on the firm’s internal site. “Acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and other deviations are scandalous,” he wrote, alongside several anti-gay Bible verses.
IKEA said at the time that the employee had expressed an opinion “in a way that could affect the rights and dignity of LGBT + people”. “In addition, the employee actually used quotes from the Old Testament about death, blood in the context of what fate should meet homosexual people,” it added. “Many employees raised by this entry contacted our HR department.”
IKEA’s decision to fire the man was in line with the Polish Labour Code, which requires employers to combat discrimination due to sexual orientation – but it caused outrage across the staunchly Catholic country and the retailer faced a nationwide boycott. Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro called IKEA’s actions “absolutely scandalous” and ordered the prosecutor’s office to probe the case.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, anti-LGBT activist Kaja Godek – who is best known for her efforts to completely ban abortion in Poland and has been criticized for her “fascist” views – will not face trial after a Warsaw court rejected a case against her. The defamation case was discontinued because the accusers “could not prove that they are gay”. She was sued by seven men for criminal defamation after her comments on private Polish broadcaster Polsat. She said that “homosexuals want to adopt kids because they want to rape and abuse them.”
Homophobia has been rising steadily in Poland especially after the ruling right-wing nationalist populist Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in 2015. According to the latest ILGA-Europe index, Poland is the most homophobic member state of the EU.