Choice of Law Issues in Employment Disputes in Korea

Choice of law/jurisdiction issue often arise in Korea when an agreement chooses a law/jurisdiction for resolution of a dispute other than Korea, internal conflicts in the agreement exist (yes this happens) or no choice of law/jurisdiction clause was chosen and the agreement seems to be better handled by a foreign court, or by the law of the foreign jurisdiction, because of, inter alia, the locale of witnesses and the subject matter of the agreement.

Choice of law/jurisdiction issues are governed in Korea mainly by Korea’s Private International Act (KPIA).  However, other acts often trump the KPIA, or else the courts use built-in “public policy” arguments to allow Korean law to trump the non-Korean chosen law.

For example, in the majority of employment law disputes, Korea courts have invalidated choice of the law and jurisdiction clauses that note a law or jurisdiction other than Korea.

For example, if a employer hiring someone for work to be performed primarily in Korea places into an employment agreement, NY Law with resolution in a NY state court, the Korean courts will likely invalidate this clause and apply Korean law and apply the Korean law in the Korean court.

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