An entertainer must compensate for damages when they annul a contract unilaterally, even if the entertainment agency is not fulfilling its duty.
The Seoul High Court ruled Tuesday in favor of an entertainment agency in a case involving one of its entertainers, who broke her contract unilaterally.
The agency had failed to pay money owed to the entertainer, identified only as Lee. But according to the ruling, Lee was required to ask the agency to fulfill its contractual duties and cancel the contract only after the agency showed no intention of living up to them.
We are to believe Lee didn't ask to be paid, didn't ask that the contract be upheld? Are there proper channels that Lee didn't follow?
The agency requested 80 million won ($64,000) in compensation, but the court ordered Lee to pay only 30 million won, which is the double the amount the agency spent for the entertainer.
Lee signed a contract with the agency in 2005, entrusting the agency with all her rights regarding the entertainment industry and to split the accruing profits in half. In the case of Lee breaking the contract, she was required to compensate twice the amount the agency paid for her.
After a year, when the agency did not distribute her share of profits, Lee notified the agency about the annulment of the contract. The agency said it would pay her share within a month, but Lee refused and unilaterally terminated the contract.
We can make a connection between these entertainers and foreign English teachers, who too-frequently find themselves with employers who withhold wages or do other things to violate their end of the contract. Browsing a few threads on the internet shows that the consensus seems to be not to quit your job if you're a teacher being jerked around, but rather take the grievances to the Labor Board. Perhaps this Lee didn't take his or her case through the official channels and thus had no record of the employer's malpractice. So while it's curious that the Supreme Court here punished one breach of contract and not the other, perhaps that's because the employee's breach was much easier to prove than the employer's.