Legality of an Employer Lockout in Korea: Korean Labor & Employment Law Basics

Korea, in the eyes of many domestic and foreign companies, has been lax in the enforcement of the rights of employers to run a business.  One noted cases that lead to a decision by the Supreme Court of Korea comes to mind.  Because of a labor strike at a major automobile parts manufacturer and the physical blocking of the use of replacement workers and employer machinery by the employees, the employer implemented a partial unpaid lockout of certain employees (employees

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IPG’s Korean Employment & Labour Law Chapter in Global Legal Insights 2018

IPG is proud to announce the contribution of the Korean chapter to GLI’s 2018 Edition of Employment & Labour Law.  The publication contains chapters from 29 different countries.  The publication may be found at: Employment & Labor Law, Sixth Edition. Key Issues addressed are, among others,: -General Labour Market Conditions in Korea -Employment Policies under the Moon Administration -Litigation Trends in Korea -Definition of “Ordinary Wage” in Korea -Korean Supreme Court’s Regular Interval Bonus Case -Director as an Employee for

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Part-time Worker Annual Paid Leave Obligations under the Korean Labor Standards Act

Employers, in Korea, are in most cases required to grant annual paid leave to full-time and even part-time workers working in Korea-based companies.  Exceptions to this Korean annual paid leave law exist for Korean workers that work, on average, less than 15 hours per week for these Korean-based companies. Article 18 of the Korean Labor Standards Act notes that: “(1) The terms and conditions of employment of part-time workers shall be determined on the basis of relative ration computed in

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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Attorney in Korea for U.S. Military Employees

Yes. Some U.S. lawyers in Korea are experienced handling appeals to the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB), grievance under the Negotiated Grievance Procedure and complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Regrettably, only a small group of lawyers in Korea are experienced in U.S. government employment matters for government workers working for the Department of Defense in Korea. Most U.S. lawyers would, only, know where Yongsan is and wouldn’t know Camp Red Cloud from Camp Humphreys. A great deal

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Merit System Protection Board Appeal Lawyers in Korea

IPG is proud to announce that we retain lawyers that have experience handling appeals to the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB), grievance under the Negotiated Grievance Procedure and complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from our Korean office. A great deal of the work, in these matters, are necessary to be performed in Korea when actions of the U.S. government occur in Korea, thus, we have developed a team to handle these matters along with our NY-based associated firm.

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Doing Business in Korea: The Korea labor market under the Moon administration

The election of progressive President Jae-in Moon, after the impeachment and imprisonment of the conservative former President, led to, among other progressive proposals, pledges from the President Moon Administration of sweeping changes to Korea’s Labor & Employment Law.  The following appears in a publication supported by the Korean Government.  The complete publication may be found at: Discovering Business in Korea.  The following changes are the major changes proposed by the Moon Administration. The changes may have a significant affect on companies doing

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Guidelines on Rules of Employment & Guidelines on Fair Personnel Management Withdrawn by Korean Ministry of Employment

Inline with the labor union and employee-focused promises of the President Moon Administration, the Ministry of Employment & Labor has withdrawn the impeached President Park’s Guidelines on Rules of Employment & Guidelines on Fair Personnel Management to the regret of most of industry.  The withdraw of the Guidelines does not change the present state of Korean Labor & Employment Law. Ex-President Park’s Guidelines on Rules of Employment, inter alia, noted procedures to amend the rules of employment of a company

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Statutory Severance Obligations in Korea after Acquisition of Company in Korea

Korean employers have, attempted, in many cases unsuccessfully, through mergers, to reduce the statutory severance obligations of a Company through a company acquiring a Company with a workforce with large outstanding severance obligations.  The acquired company, in most cases, is strapped with debt and an inefficient workforce. The acquiring company, inter alia, often alleges that as a separate legal entity it owes no duties to the employees of the acquired company. The acquiring company, thus, alleges that the employees of

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Hiring English-Speaking Korean Labor Lawyers in Korea

In most cases involving employment issues concerning foreign language teachers and hagwons (not company executives), Korean labor lawyers may not be a cost-effective means of handling your dispute. Often a Nomusa (노무사) is an adequate means to resolve the dispute with your employer. A Nomusa is, however, often not adequate for high-net worth individuals, company executives and for complex cases.  These type matters, often, should be filed to a court or shall be, likely, appealed from a Korean Labor Board

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Increased Scrutiny of Employers by Korean’s Ministry of Employment & Labor under President Moon’s Administration: HR Audit Needed by Korean Employment Lawyers

Many Korean Employment Lawyers are taking note of the recent initiative by Korea’s Ministry of Employment & Labor.  At the end of June of 2017, the Ministry announced an “Unfair Labor Practice Eradication Initiative.” This Initiative intends to investigate and punish perceived “unfair labor practices” of employers in Korea by having the Ministry of Employment & Labor conduct more audits of companies and provide punishment for those perceived to be in violation of Korea’ Labor Law.  It is time to

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English-speaking Korean lawyers and International Lawyers at International Law Firm in Korea discussing issues of Korean Law

IPG Legal is a leading client-focused international law firm with offices in Korea that is, often, selected over the ubiquitous Korean Law Firms when success is essential and success depends on nuanced street-smart advice, proactive  and unconflicted representation. Our attorneys are, intentionally. different from the crowd.  From our retired judge partners to our junior associates, we are all trained with an intense focus on client success, lawyer proactivity, and to understand the nexus between your commercial and legal needs. Our attorneys

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Termination after Childcare Leave in Korea: Childcare Leave Law in Korea

Korea’s generous Childcare Leave Law poses difficulties to many smaller employers in Korea.  The Childcare Leave Law, in Korea, allows for a one year period of leave per child under the age of seven. Employers, often, are required to hire a replacement employee when the employee departs for this childcare leave.  This situation, often, leads to an employee returning to employment with little to no work to do. So can an employer, in Korea, layoff the returning Korean worker for

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Can you Revise Employment Rules in Korea without the Agreement of Employees?

The Guidebook on Wage System Reform, published by the Korean Ministry of Employment & Labor, has sparked more interest, in the private sector, than the revamping of Korea’s wage system based on seniority. The major issue, in this regard, is if the Rules of Employment of a company may be amended, without violating the Labor Standards Act of Korea (“LSA”), when “wage system reform” is not consented to by a majority of the employees or the trade union. Numerous Korean

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Korean Employment Law & Labor Law amendments under Pres. Moon Administration

President Moon President Moon promised during his presidential campaign to make major changes to Korean Labor Law & Korean Employment Law .  President Moon intends to make Korean Labor Law more protective and beneficial for workers.  The major changes,  in short,  promised by the new administation are the following: Create 810,000 New Jobs via expanding Korea’s Public Sector President Moon has vowed to create over 340,000 new government social service jobs and over 140,000 new government jobs in public safety

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Restructuring of Korean SMEs a Potential Lucrative Business in Korea

Bloomberg has an interesting article on “Zombie” companies in Korea.  Many of these companies have decent cash flow, but because of Korean corporate realities many have been less than capable of controlling costs. The Bloomberg article, in part,  notes: “One of the biggest concerns is so-called “marginal” or “zombie” companies, usually defined in Korea as businesses that haven’t been able to make payments on interest from operating profit for three years. A prolonged period of low interest rates has led

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Enforcement of Covenants Not to Compete in Employment Agreements in Korea: Restrictive Covenants in Korea

It is getting easier for an employer to enforce non-compete restrictive covenants in employment agreements in Korea, because of recent judgments by lower Korean courts noting, among other things, the value of trade secrets in competitive industries in Korea. Korean Non-Compete Agreements Recently, a interesting case, in a Seoul, Korean court, concerning the wedding planning business was handed down by the Seoul Central District Court (2104NA63529).  The Court upheld a three non-compete clause against an employee, but reduced a liquidated

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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

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Transfer of Employee in Korea to Lower Position in Company May not be Wrongful Termination: Seoul High Court Precedence

The Seoul High Court, recently, ruled that the transfer of an employee from the position of vice president of a security guard company to the position of Supervisor of an apartment complex managed by the security guard company does not equate to an “unreasonable transfer” if the transfer was necessary because of “human resources or management necessity.”  Mr. Choi was dismissed by a security guard company for, among other things, allegations of accepting bribes.  The Korean Labor Commission ruled that

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Must I grant Male Employees Maternity/Paternity Leave in Korea?: Korean Labor/Employment Law Updates

Article 19 of the Korean Labor Standards Act (LSA), in part, governs whether an employer must grant an employee unpaid maternity leave.  Any employer, under the LSA, must grant a male or female employee maternity leave (Literal translation: Temporary Retirement for Childcare) if the child of the parent is taking care of the child and the child is under the age of 8 (Western/Legal Age). The employer is required to give the employee a maximum of one year unpaid leave,

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Non-Compete Clauses in Employment Agreements in Korea

The enforceability of non-competition clauses in Korea is an area of contention, that, often, leads to enforcement actions via criminal and civil suits.  The criminal suits, usually, come in the form of an allegation of the expropriation of trade secrets.  In general, carefully crafted non-compete clauses coupled with tailored actions leading to termination leads, typically, to the enforceability of non-compete obligations by Korean courts.  The Korean Supreme Court in Case # 2009Da82244 (March 11, 2010) iterated a test to determine

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