National furniture retailer IKEA is under scrutiny after firing one of its employees who refused to take part in an LGBT event and posted Bible verses regarding homosexuality.
The company’s head of equality, diversity, and integration, Sara Brody, instructed employees to reach out to LGBT people and positively engage with them as part of participating in International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on May 16.
IKEA specifically urged workers “to stand up for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender plus people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.” Brody further petitioned them to “ask for the transgender person’s preferred pronoun (hers, theirs, etc.)” and “engage LGBT+ people in conversations about their partners and families.”
A man by the name of Tomasz K felt incredibly uncomfortable with the instructions as they stood in direct conflict with his personal values and fell outside of his job description of selling furniture.
“I was shaken up,” Tomasz K told TVP Info of Poland. “I’ve been hired to sell furniture but I’m a Catholic and these aren’t my values.”
Tomasz wrote a post on social media in response that said “acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and other deviations is a source of scandal.”
The statement was accompanied by references to two Bible verses regarding scandals and homosexuality:
“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).
“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).
IKEA management required the man to attend a disciplinary hearing and take the ‘discriminatory’ social media posts down.
However, Tomasz stood his ground saying, “as a Catholic, I cannot censor God.” He refuted that his job did not require him to promote “so-called LGBT values” or “ideological propaganda.”
While he was told there would be consequences for his refusal to comply, he did not realize how extreme they would be.
A few days later, Tomasz was fired. He says he 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 a media frenzy regarding the incident, the furniture retailer stated they fired the employee 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.”
The employee is now fighting back and suing IKEA for wrongful termination.
Jerzy Kwasniewski of Ordo Luri, the law group defending Tomasz, claims the retailer has violated his rights and discriminated against Christians.
“The insinuation contained in the Ikea statement is unacceptable and violates Mr. Tomasz’s personal rights and can be read as motivated by prejudices against Christians,” said Kwasniewski. He also claimed IKEA was attempting to “censor the Holy Bible.”