SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — Employees sometimes quit their jobs on their own when their employers tell them to look elsewhere for reasons such as deteriorating business conditions.
In this case, a South Korean court ruled that it should be seen as a “discharge,” not a “self-imposed resignation.”
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s original ruling against two former restaurant workers who were plaintiffs in a wage-claim suit filed against the restaurant owner and sent the case back to the lower court for a retrial.
The plaintiffs, who used to work at a restaurant in Wonju, Gangwon Province, were told by the restaurant’s owners in November 2016, “There could be situations in which your monthly salary will not be paid. I think you’d better find another job.”
The workers quit the following day after meeting with the owner, who explained the situation in similar terms to what had been mentioned in the text message.
Since then, the workers filed a petition with the local labor office indicating that they had not received any severance pay, which led to a lawsuit.
The lower courts ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, saying the restaurant owner had never explicitly told any employees to quit.
The Supreme Court, however, said that the workers had in fact had been compelled to quit by the owner, which amounted to a dismissal.
The restaurant owner claimed earlier that he never asked employees to leave even if he had some intention to fire them.
In response, the Supreme Court pointed out that “if a minimum number of workers was needed to run the restaurant, the owners should have specified who would be fired among its employees.”
“By leaving it to the workers’ choice, the employer induced them to resign voluntarily,” the court ruled.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)