Saturday, August 29, 2009

Teacher fired for catching swine flu, hurting hagwon attendance.

The Midnight Runner podcast has an interview with "Mark," a teacher here in Korea essentially fired for catching swine flu.
Not only did he catch the swine flu… he GOT FIRED as a result of it! Click to hear all about it, from how the teacher found out he had swine flu, to his treatment, and his academy’s reaction!

"Mark" was fired nine months in after taking a vacation to Thailand and returning to Korea ill. He went to the doctor and got tested for swine flu, but not surprisingly his director wanted him to come to work anyway. When the director learned of his positive test the next day, the director said he had to close the school, and word is some students quit as a result. The teacher wanted to be paid for his mandatory time off from school, was thus fired, and is now looking to get his severence pay, return airfare, and the wages over the next 30 days, but presumably will not be paid those or the three months of wages remaining on his contract.

Give it a listen, and decide for yourself who's right, who's wrong. A cautionary tale for those teachers who may want to travel abroad before, between, or during their contracts, and a foreshadowing of what could happen at schools and academies around the country this fall. There's a discussion on this Dave's ESL Cafe thread as well.

7 comments:

Chris in South Korea said...

Wow - I just posted over at http://chrisinsouthkorea.blogspot.com/2009/08/teacher-fired-after-getting-swine-flu.html.

The podcast is pretty good, although I've gotta say 'Mark' sounded overly optimstic about getting money for time not worked. The idea of getting paid for the reminaing three months of his contract? I did try not to laugh... I did try...

It still sucks to be fired thanks to the swine flu - and is certainly worth looking into.

1994 said...

He was all kinds of wrong to go to school even if the director asked him to go. He risked exposure to many students (who would have been in contact with many more)as well as those on the subway or bus he took going there. And didn't the doctor advise him NOT to go to the hogwon? If he didn't, that is prety irresponsible. The hogwon owner is greedy for wanting him to come in that day, but wants to cut his losses by firing the teacher to recoup losses. That is the Korean mindset.

Brian said...

Chris, good write-up. It does sound like he won't get any of that money, and you're right to an extent that the hagwon won't pay what they don't have to. But I guess the teacher's point is they ought to pay because, if it weren't for getting fired for being sick, he would have completed the contract.

1994 - Yeah, it's a bad idea to go to work sick, but that's Korea. Perhaps, as Jason of kimchi-icecream said and as I referenced in my last swine flu post, this will prove a revolution in work culture in Korea, akin to the five-day work week. But I know teachers from my school never took days off, and I know that I'd been told to come to work even with doctors' notes that said take three days off. If a foreign teacher refused to come in and teach when the employer said so, I'm sure that would damage the relationship and potentially lead to firing.

kushibo said...

He should go to the labor board and see what they say.

kushibo said...

Brendon Carr, at heart a good guy who will help those who truly deserve it and even some who don't, wrote this handy set of notes on labor law as it pertains to this type of thing.

Mike Bohemoth said...

So the kid I turned on to Fallout 3 comes back from vacation and I asked him if he found any new video games to obsess about. He says there is a (Korean) game on Pmang (Naver) called AVA which involves hunting down and shooting people who have..............swine flu. Not Koreans with swine flu, foreigners.

http://ava.pmang.com/ava_intro.nwz

Is this kid having a little fun with me or is this really true? If so....hurray for fresh outrage!!! Let the blogging commence. Whatever, I guess it's no more or no less racist than killing black people in Far Cry 2 or Resident Evil 5, or North Koreans in Crysis. Still, Koreans pretending to kill crazed, infected foreigners....

Nathan: said...

"...but wants to cut his losses by firing the teacher to recoup losses. That is the Korean mindset."

I disagree.