Cork Apple worker found with explosive substance at work party insists he is ‘not a criminal’

A former Apple worker in Cork who lost his job after traces of an explosive substance were found on his bag has appealed an award of €4,500 after a ruling that he was unfairly dismissed in order to seek his reinstatement by the company.

Stanislav Ivanov, a former technical support advisor with Apple at the company’s Holyhill campus in Cork, told a hearing of the Labour Court that he had appealed a ruling in his favour by the Workplace Relations Commission as he wanted former colleagues to see he was “not some type of criminal.” 

“I want to clear my reputation,” said Mr Ivanov.

While he had originally sought reinstatement in lodging an appeal, Mr Ivanov said he did not now intend to return to working with Apple as he accepted trust between the parties was broken.

Christmas party incident

The appellant was dismissed following a disciplinary process after traces of Tetryl, an explosive substance used in detonators, were discovered by Apple security staff carrying out a check on his bag as he entered the company’s Christmas party being held in a football stadium in Cork on December 7, 2018.

Mr Ivanov, who maintained that he had not come in contact with any explosives, refused to allow security staff to examine the contents of his bag.

Subsequent swab tests of his workstation and power switch on his work computer on December 13, 2018, also tested positive for an unspecified explosive substance.

Gardaí carried out a search of Mr Ivanov’s house on December 14, 2018, but nothing illegal was found.

Original WRC hearing

In Mr Ivanov’s original claim for unfair dismissal, the WRC ruled that security staff had no authority to search his bag without his permission and should have called the gardaí.

The WRC said it was “incredible” that Mr Ivanov’s workstation and computer were the only locations where traces of the explosive substance were found as they could not be the only touch points he had in Apple’s offices.

Apple’s employee relations manager, Darragh Whooley, said the company was not contesting the WRC’s ruling that the dismissal of Mr Ivanov was unfair and it was happy to pay the €4,500 compensation.

However, Mr Whooley said it would present a significant challenge for Apple to accept Mr Ivanov’s reinstatement to his former role given the nature of the case.

“Essentially the relationship and bond of trust is irrevocably broken,” said Mr Whooley.

He claimed Mr Ivanov had never provided a reasonable explanation for the serious allegations against him and Apple had a duty of care not just to its staff but to the wider community.

In evidence, Mr Ivanov said former colleagues, friends and people in his social circle “almost disappeared” following his dismissal by Apple.

“A lot of people stopped communicating with me and they distanced themselves,” he added.

Mr Ivanov said the manner in which he had lost his job had left him in a very bad psychological state and he had to leave Ireland as he could not afford to pay rent or bills if unemployed.

He told the Labour Court he eventually found a job in Bulgaria after nine months which paid €800 less per month than his role in Apple, although he had recently moved to Britain to take up a new position.

Today’s ruling

The deputy chairperson of the Labour Court, Tom Geraghty, criticised both parties for the lack of information contained in their submissions to the court.

Mr Geraghty ruled that there should be a complete new hearing on all facts of the case and adjourned the hearing until a future date.

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