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Subject   Chungdam, Native English teachers in dispute (Korea Times on March 17, 2011)
Chungdam, Native English teachers in dispute


By Park Si-soo

Chungdam Learning, a leading English language institute here, has been accused of having not paid severance pay and other allowances to native English teachers who have completed their contracts.

Nine Americans who worked at the institute’s three branches in Seoul filed a collective petition with a labor ministry office, Tuesday, demanding the institute pay a total of 140 million won ($124,500) in overdue pay.

The petitioners, who claim they were “permanent employers” of the institute, said they worked “under tight control” of the institute — running classes for 26 hours, five days a week with the academy-designated teaching material and code of conduct with an hourly pay ranging between 32,000 and 45,000 won.

However, Chungdam has insisted they were “freelance teachers,” refusing to offer severance pay and to compensate for work on holidays and weekends when they finished their jobs last year. Freelance workers are not subject to the disputed payments, according to the institute.

They were not entitled to paid leave. They also claim that no compensation was given for a 20-hour training session they underwent before being included as Chungdam’s faculty members, which was in violation of the country’s Labor Standards Act, the teachers said in their petition.

“The petitioners should be seen as permanent workers hired by the academy,” said Jung Bong-soo, a labor attorney who filed the petition on behalf of the nine.

“Their teaching activities were tightly controlled by the institute’s management, which is key evidence refuting the academy’s allegation that they were freelancers.”

Jung added the academy’s allegation doesn’t make sense, given the nature of the E-2 English teaching visa that is issued to English-speaking foreigners invited to Korea by a Korean employer.

Chungdam insists that the nine were hired as freelancers so that it does not have to pay the disputed compensation.

“We inform all teachers at the academy of the contract terms. So we believe that the nine petitioners were fully aware of their status while on duty,” said a Chungdam spokesman anonymously.

“We will try to settle the problem as early as possible.”

The spokesman refused to elaborate on the issue since he has yet to receive official documentation regarding the case from the labor office.

According to Chungdam, all native English teachers at its 14 branches across the country are employed under the same contract terms — as of January 349 foreigners work for the institute.

The labor attorney Jung expects many of them to file similar petitions against Chungdam if the court rules in favor of the petitioners.

Andrew Krebsbach, one of the nine petitioners, said they took the action to send the message that the growing community of “expatriates living in Korea and offering their services to businesses will no longer tolerate prejudicial labor practices.”

“Ensuring fair and equal treatment for its increasingly multiethnic workforce is a step Korea must take in order to continue its dynamic growth in the next decade, which is something I believe all of us living in Korea today desire,” Krebsbach said.

Chungdam was established by Kim Young-hwa in 1998 and has shown a meteoric rise in the private language academy industry. It was listed on the Kosdaq market in June 2008, and is targeting 102 billion won in sales and 7 billion won in operating profit this year.



[단독] 청담어학원 원어민 강사 수당 미지급으로 고발당해

청담어학원이 계약이 만료된 원어민 강사들에게 퇴직금과 각종 수당을 지급하지 않아 노동부 강남지청에 고발당했다.

청담어학원에서 중고등학생 영어 강의(그룹수업)를 했던 9명의 미국출신 원어민 강사들은(청담어학원 대치, 송파, 잠실 지점) 화요일 학원을 상대로 약 1억4천만원 상당의 미지급 수당을 지급하라며 강남노동청에 진정서를 제출했다.

진정서에서 그들은 주5일 26시간 수업을 하고, 학원이 선택한 교재와 시간표에 따라 일했고, 복무규정 등을 적용 받는 등 정규직으로서 받을 대우를 받았지만 퇴직금, 주휴수당, 연차휴가수당 등을 받지 못했다고 주장했다.

그들은 또한 정규강습에 들어가기 전 의무적으로 받는 트레이닝 기간 중에 받지 못한 임금(일주일)또한 받지 못했다고 말했다.

하지만 청담어학원은 그들을 "프리랜서"로 고용했기 때문에 문제될 것이 없다고 말한다.

강사들을 대리하는 정봉수 노무사는 "청구인들은 명백히 청담어학원에 직접고용 된 정규직원으로 봐야 한다"고 주장하며 "그들의 교습활동이 학원에 의해 철저히 관리되었던 것을 감안할 때 그들을 프리랜서로 고용했다고 보기 어렵다"고 말했다.

그는 또한 원어민 강사들에게 발급되는 E-2비자가 국내 고용주가 고용을 담보로 외국인을 국내로 초청하는 형태임을 감안할 때 청담어학원의 주장은 어불성설이라고 말했다.

이에 대해 어학원 측은 "고용 당시 이러한 계약조건에 대해 충분히 통보했고, 진정인들도 충분히 계약조건을 알고 있었을 것"이라 말했다. 어학원 관계자는 "가능한 빨리 이 문제가 해결될 수 있도록 노력하겠다"고 말했다.

1998년에 개원한 청담어학원은 지난1월 현재 349명의 원어민 강사를 고용하고 있고, 이들은 모두 동일한 계약조건에서 근무하고 있다.

정 노무사는 본 계약이 부당하다고 결정 날 경우 다른 강사들의 유사 진정이 뒤이을 것이라 전망했다.

[List]

27 (1/2)
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16 Publishing the revised version of A Bilingual Code of Korean Labor Law (2015)  
15 Native English instructors to get severance pay  
14 Teachers headed for final court battle over employment status (Koreal Herald, January 13, 2015)  
Chungdam, Native English teachers in dispute (Korea Times on March 17, 2011)  
12 KangNam Labor Law Firm selected by Gyeonggi Province as a professional Labor Law Firm to support foreign-invested companies for years from 2013 - 2015  
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