Apple’s Cork unit ordered to pay €4,500 in constructive dismissal claim

Processing of worker’s personal data a ‘serious departure from trust and confidence’

The tech giant employs 5,500 people here. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

The tech giant employs 5,500 people here. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

 

An Irish unit of iPhone maker Apple has been ordered to pay €4,500 compensation to a customer relations adviser following his successful constructive dismissal claim against the firm.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudicator Patsy Doyle said Matthieu Debomy had managed “to attain the high bar” associated with proving he had been constructively dismissed by the Cork-based Apple Distribution International Ltd in October 2020.

The tech giant employs 5,500 people here and Ms Doyle found that the company’s processing of Mr Debomy’s personal data without apparent pre-clearance or Mr Debomy’s consent “demonstrated a serious departure from the trust and confidence enshrined in a contract of employment”.

Resignation

Ms Doyle also said that the processing of the French national’s data “was unreasonable and did not comply with the contractual provision on data protection”. 

Ms Doyle said she was satisfied it served as the main reason for Mr Debomy’s resignation in October, 2020.

She found the measures taken by the company in the case “strayed outside the contractual terms on acceptable levels of surveillance”.

Ms Doyle also said the methodology of the compilation of the dossier of allegations formulated by the Apple company “had a catastrophic impact” on Mr Debomy, who represented himself in the case.

Mr Debomy “had a six-year unblemished employment record” with Apple and Ms Doyle said that she accepted Mr Debomy’s evidence that he had lost trust in his employer.

Mr Debomy said Apple activated a disciplinary procedure on his sending a message to an Apple reseller in August 2020 from a personal email and his dealings with a customer of the reseller.

Warning

Ms Doyle said that one of the allegations against Mr Debomy was based on an email sent from Mr Debomy’s personal email while he was logged off from Apple’s IT system, and the second occurred during the course of his work at the company.

Apple issued Mr Debomy with a written warning on October 6th, 2020. 

However, by then, Mr Debomy had lost trust in Apple and had begun to seek new work in case he was dismissed.

Apple argued that Mr Debomy’s resignation was therefore voluntary as he was in the process of looking for new work.

The company said that Mr Debomy had been treated reasonably in the face of genuine concerns regarding his conduct. It argued that Mr Debomy had not exhausted all internal procedures prior to his resignation.

Apple further argued that Mr Debomy had not been dismissed and that he had failed to identify any conduct by Apple that could amount to a breach of his contract.