Voluntary Resignation of an Employee in Korea: Employment Law Updates

A Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of the employer in a case of an employee claiming damages for, inter alia, the not accepting of the voluntary resignation of an employee.  The dispute was between the Industrial Bank of Korea and an employee under a criminal investigation for alleged work-related malfeasance.

The Korean bank has an internal rule that an employee may not receive “special” severance payments if the employee, in question, is under investigation for work-related malfeasance.  The employer provides increased severance payments for employees that retire before a certain age and for other reasons.  The employee was acquitted of the criminal charges and prevailed in a civil case against his accuser.

The employer requested to resign from the company, seemingly, in order to receive “special” severance payments allocated to these certain classified employees (reached the age of 55) and the company refused to accept the resignation, since the employee was under investigation for these alleged work-related wrongdoings.

The Court opined that: “In principle, the authority to accept a voluntary resignation is under the authority of the employer. . .” unless the employment rules note otherwise.

The employee, thus, was denied these early retirement severance payments without recourse, because of no mention in employment rules that the employer must accept a request for voluntary resignation.
Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.

Sean’s profile may be found at: Sean C. Hayes

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