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Update! AKA my horrible hagwon experience

 
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Kiki81



Joined: 06 Mar 2017

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:27 pm    Post subject: Update! AKA my horrible hagwon experience Reply with quote

So I while ago I posted on a now locked topic .... I think it was called "working over 30 classes" or something like that. I just wanted to give an update on my situation and also give a warning about bad hagwons.

I was not fired. I just completed my year contact. I am waiting for my last paycheck and severance pay, which I should get next week. I asked my boss specifically which dates I would get these payments. We get paid on the 10th of the following month, so that is when I'll get my last paycheck. But she told me I have to wait 1 month for the severance pay. This is illegal actually, because according to the labor law, which you can read posted on this forum, an employer has to pay the severance pay within 2 weeks.

I asked her why it would take so long, and she said something about paying my fees for the apartment, like gas, electric, ect. That seems fair, but I still don't trust them because of their bad practices.

So, since I know the manager pretty well at the apartment, I had him make a receipt of everything I owed him. I paid everything outright. He signed it and told me I had settled everything. I paid this month's and last month's utilities, the room cleaning fee, and a fee to replace a glass I broke. So, everything is settled with the apartment, and now I'm just waiting for my last payments. Altogether with last payment and severance pay my hagwon owes me around maybe 3,500,000-3,700,000, depending on taxes. I worked 3 weeks out of 4 this month, so I wont get a full month's paycheck.

If they try to screw me in any way imaginable with my payments, I will def take it up with the Labor Board.

I just wanted to warn people about bad hagwons, like mine, and their bad practices. My hagwon is loosing money, and a way bad hagwons try to cut costs is to force employees to leave or get fired before their year contracts are over, so they cannot collect severance pay. This has happened many times before, just check some of the posts here, or other places. It is not uncommon. This is what they tried to do to me, but you know what, I fought back, and I put up a big stink and let them know. They really treated me awfully, but I'm scrappy and I fought back. I think in the end, they thought it was cheaper to keep me than to force me out, because they got wind of me going to immigration and that scared them a little so they backed off. I think that's why they allowed me to finish my contract. LOL I knew too much Wink

Another sign of a bad hagwon, or any company, is high turn-over rate of staff, especially from the Korean staff. My hagwon was the same. In the year that I worked there I had 5 different managers, so the average length of time in management there was 2-3 months Shocked Also they fired, or forced resignations, of 75% of the Korean staff and brought in new teachers and staff, again before their year contracts were completed.

Another sign of a bad hagwon that's loosing money is blaming teachers, especially Korean teachers, when students leave. In fact, it got so bad they fired 75% of the Korean teachers, and then more students left because their homeroom teachers changed, or parents got suspicious of the reasons for their children's favorite teachers leaving. Then what did my bad hagwon do? Did they blame themselves for bad business practices and faulty management? Oh no, it's never their fault. They blamed the brand new Korean teachers for students leaving!

I'm so glad I'm done with that bad hagwon and I feel sorry for my former coworkers that still work there. And they started to do the same things they did to me with the teacher who started 6 months ago, picking on every little thing he does. Things that they never cared about when he first started are suddenly big things now. I warned him that they'd do the same things to him as they did to me, especially around his 8 month mark.

But now I'm so happy that I'm free of that place and I'm just waiting for my last payments. I guess I will keep updating whether or not they actually pay me. But if they don't, it's their heads on the chopping block.
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CentralCali



Joined: 17 May 2007

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:29 am    Post subject: Re: Update! AKA my horrible hagwon experience Reply with quote

As I mentioned in another thread, this response is not really for this thread's OP, but rather for other foreigners who may find themselves in a similar situation.

Kiki81 wrote:
So I while ago I posted on a now locked topic .... I think it was called "working over 30 classes" or something like that. I just wanted to give an update on my situation and also give a warning about bad hagwons.

I was not fired. I just completed my year contact.


From what you described in Working Over 30 classes a week*, the likely reason you were not fired is the hagweon simply couldn't get a replacement for the "foreign face in the classroom" (you).

Quote:
I am waiting for my last paycheck and severance pay, which I should get next week. I asked my boss specifically which dates I would get these payments. We get paid on the 10th of the following month, so that is when I'll get my last paycheck. But she told me I have to wait 1 month for the severance pay. This is illegal actually, because according to the labor law, which you can read posted on this forum, an employer has to pay the severance pay within 2 weeks.

I asked her why it would take so long, and she said something about paying my fees for the apartment, like gas, electric, ect. That seems fair, but I still don't trust them because of their bad practices.

So, since I know the manager pretty well at the apartment, I had him make a receipt of everything I owed him. I paid everything outright. He signed it and told me I had settled everything. I paid this month's and last month's utilities, the room cleaning fee, and a fee to replace a glass I broke. So, everything is settled with the apartment, and now I'm just waiting for my last payments. Altogether with last payment and severance pay my hagwon owes me around maybe 3,500,000-3,700,000, depending on taxes. I worked 3 weeks out of 4 this month, so I wont get a full month's paycheck.

If they try to screw me in any way imaginable with my payments, I will def take it up with the Labor Board.


Are you still in Korea? If you are, then your plan has some merit. It will still take time and, this time, you actually have grounds to file a complaint at the Labor Board.

If you aren't in Korea, kiss the money goodbye. The Labor Board will not accept your complaint from outside the country. For you to have someone appear on your behalf at the Labor Board, you still must file the complaint yourself while in Korea and designate someone (using the nifty form the labor board has for that purpose) to appear on your behalf at all--not some, and not just the final, but all--inquiries the Labor Board might hold for your case. Funny thing--although you cannot initiate a Labor Board case from overseas, you can designate someone to appear on your behalf by completing the aforementioned form at a Korean consulate.

Quote:
I just wanted to warn people about bad hagwons, like mine, and their bad practices. My hagwon is loosing money, and a way bad hagwons try to cut costs is to force employees to leave or get fired before their year contracts are over, so they cannot collect severance pay. This has happened many times before, just check some of the posts here, or other places. It is not uncommon. This is what they tried to do to me, but you know what, I fought back, and I put up a big stink and let them know. They really treated me awfully, but I'm scrappy and I fought back. I think in the end, they thought it was cheaper to keep me than to force me out, because they got wind of me going to immigration and that scared them a little so they backed off. I think that's why they allowed me to finish my contract. LOL I knew too much Wink


Your employer doesn't care about your immigration status or any issues you have with immigration. If there is anything out of order with the foreign employee's immigration status, it is the foreign employee's problem and it is the foreign employee who is on the hook for fines, detention, and/or deportation. What little that can be done to the Korean employer is just that: little. They might get fined, but that's likely not going to happen. The more probable outcome is that Immigration will give the employer written notification that the employer had something out of the ordinary and advise them of the proper way to do things.

Quote:
Another sign of a bad hagwon, or any company, is high turn-over rate of staff, especially from the Korean staff. My hagwon was the same. In the year that I worked there I had 5 different managers, so the average length of time in management there was 2-3 months Shocked Also they fired, or forced resignations, of 75% of the Korean staff and brought in new teachers and staff, again before their year contracts were completed.

Another sign of a bad hagwon that's loosing money is blaming teachers, especially Korean teachers, when students leave. In fact, it got so bad they fired 75% of the Korean teachers, and then more students left because their homeroom teachers changed, or parents got suspicious of the reasons for their children's favorite teachers leaving. Then what did my bad hagwon do? Did they blame themselves for bad business practices and faulty management? Oh no, it's never their fault. They blamed the brand new Korean teachers for students leaving!

I'm so glad I'm done with that bad hagwon and I feel sorry for my former coworkers that still work there. And they started to do the same things they did to me with the teacher who started 6 months ago, picking on every little thing he does. Things that they never cared about when he first started are suddenly big things now. I warned him that they'd do the same things to him as they did to me, especially around his 8 month mark.


At the risk of repeating myself (and echoing other posters), the situation with Korean employees at any school/hagweon/company has exactly zero to do with the situation for foreigners.

Also, nothing you've posted in this thread comes as a surprise to anyone who's been in Korea for a while. What you just described is pretty standard fare. Do you really think that it's gone on so long and is so prevalent because the Labor Board has power or because the employers fear the likely outcome?

Quote:
But now I'm so happy that I'm free of that place and I'm just waiting for my last payments. I guess I will keep updating whether or not they actually pay me. But if they don't, it's their heads on the chopping block.


If you're not in Korea, nobody's head will be on the chopping block. The only thing that will probably happen is that you won't get your money. Well, you might get the money, but if your boss were going to pay you, you'd already have it. Care to guess how you can sue from overseas?

I actually hope you do get your money, including the pension contributions. I also hope that the Korean government will finally figure out that the stunts the bad hagweon owners get away with do not do Korea any favors whatsoever when it comes to Korea's reputation with foreigners, and then enact some equitable laws with actual enforcement measures that would really penalize unethical outfits. What can I say? I'm a dreamer.

*I gather that thread was locked because of your "buddy" J.Q.A's comments in that thread and others recently. Apparently J.Q.A. has been banned from this site. Perhaps you noticed this post in another thread.

p.s. The word is "losing".

p.p.s. The United States Embassy in Seoul has good information regarding working in South Korea as an English teacher.
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Kiki81



Joined: 06 Mar 2017

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:24 am    Post subject: Re: Update! AKA my horrible hagwon experience Reply with quote

CentralCali wrote:

Are you still in Korea? If you are, then your plan has some merit. It will still take time and, this time, you actually have grounds to file a complaint at the Labor Board.

If you aren't in Korea, kiss the money goodbye. The Labor Board will not accept your complaint from outside the country. For you to have someone appear on your behalf at the Labor Board, you still must file the complaint yourself while in Korea and designate someone (using the nifty form the labor board has for that purpose) to appear on your behalf at all--not some, and not just the final, but all--inquiries the Labor Board might hold for your case. Funny thing--although you cannot initiate a Labor Board case from overseas, you can designate someone to appear on your behalf by completing the aforementioned form at a Korean consulate.


Absolutely, I am still in Korea. So everything else you've said is completely inconsequential.


Quote:

Your employer doesn't care about your immigration status or any issues you have with immigration. If there is anything out of order with the foreign employee's immigration status, it is the foreign employee's problem and it is the foreign employee who is on the hook for fines, detention, and/or deportation. What little that can be done to the Korean employer is just that: little. They might get fined, but that's likely not going to happen. The more probable outcome is that Immigration will give the employer written notification that the employer had something out of the ordinary and advise them of the proper way to do things.


Hahahahaha, you have no clue whatsoever. It's really sad how you keep debating my situation not knowing anything. Absolutely a hagwon can get in trouble if their teachers don't have the right visas. And it wasn't my visa status that was in question. Also I never even went to immigration, I went to the Labor Board. Some other teacher wanted to tell on me, but they got the wrong place. Oh well it all worked out in the end.

Quote:
At the risk of repeating myself (and echoing other posters), the situation with Korean employees at any school/hagweon/company has exactly zero to do with the situation for foreigners.


It has everything to do with the foreigner teachers. Bad hagwons who are losing money will usually take it out on the foreign teachers first, because naturally, we're foreigners and easier to blame. Next, it's the Korean staff, especially if things get really bad. So, if the Korean staff is not being treated fairly, then you know, as a foreign worker, that you def won't be.

High turnover rates are a bad sign for any business and it's incredibly foolish to say that what I've described, as my bad hagwon experience, is a sign of good, or even standard business practices.

Quote:
Also, nothing you've posted in this thread comes as a surprise to anyone who's been in Korea for a while. What you just described is pretty standard fare. Do you really think that it's gone on so long and is so prevalent because the Labor Board has power or because the employers fear the likely outcome?


No, no no no no... just no. It's gone on for so long because of bad hagwons hiring foreign teachers who have no idea about labor laws or even fair teaching hours. Most of these teachers are first timers, and fresh out of college. They know nothing, and they are victimized by bad hagwons. Most of their cases never go to the Labor Board because the foreigner will just pull a runner and go back home, or soldier on through and leave after a year because this is their first job and they had a hard time finding work after they graduated.

What I'm doing is warning teachers before they come to Korea, and others who might be in the same boat. You are doing absolutely nothing to help them, like you did absolutely nothing to help me in my past situation. You actually tried to make it worse for me, and gave me really bad advice. I did the opposite of what you said and it worked out all right.


Quote:

If you're not in Korea, nobody's head will be on the chopping block. The only thing that will probably happen is that you won't get your money. Well, you might get the money, but if your boss were going to pay you, you'd already have it. Care to guess how you can sue from overseas?


Already been answered....

Quote:
I actually hope you do get your money, including the pension contributions. I also hope that the Korean government will finally figure out that the stunts the bad hagweon owners get away with do not do Korea any favors whatsoever when it comes to Korea's reputation with foreigners, and then enact some equitable laws with actual enforcement measures that would really penalize unethical outfits. What can I say? I'm a dreamer.


Sorry, I honestly can not see this, considering your past posts.


Quote:
p.s. The word is "losing".


Ok, I'll give you that. This is the only thing you've been right on in all of your past posts Rolling Eyes
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CentralCali



Joined: 17 May 2007

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your reading comprehension has not improved a whit. Nor have your manners.
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Kiki81



Joined: 06 Mar 2017

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was that an attempt at a personal insult? Those aren't considered adequate rebuttals, you know?
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nicwr2002



Joined: 17 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you are referring to the BC schools getting closed for teachers having the wrong visas. However, look who got the brunt of the trouble, the teachers. The hagwon goes on with a slap on the wrist compared to being deported and banned from entering Korea for 5 years. I admire your idealism, but things just don't work out like you hope they would here.

No I must admit, this current administration is doing some good though when it comes to education and inspecting business practices of companies, IMO.
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CentralCali



Joined: 17 May 2007

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right. You did what you think was good, ignoring sound advice from experienced people, and it worked out so well that you are now not getting the money owed you. In the other thread, you insulted other posters and me when we pointed out facts to you. The one poster who fed your deluded view while also being rude and insulting got himself banned. Your comments about other posters and me were clearly deluded, to wit accusing us of being hagweon recruiters or hagweon management.

So, why did you bring up Immigration in this thread if that's not an issue? If your visa status was okay, but you believe the employer was concerned (look at your own post about the employer "getting wind of" you going to Immigration), that means you either knew or suspected other foreign workers there at the time were on the wrong visa. And where did I say the employer would not get in trouble? I said the consequences were negligible for the employer compared to the consequences for the foreigner on the wrong visa.

Going by your own description of the issue, you had no valid complaint while working at that school. Going by your own description, you now have a valid and actionable complaint that is not connected to your earlier misconceptions. Your complaint will have even more merit if your former employer does not pay you.

I have a decade of experience with Korea; ttompatz has more than that. Other posters in your other thread, posters with a lot of experience in Korea, also told you facts and we gave you legitimate advice.

That's what I mean when I say your reading comprehension has not improved since the other thread was closed. You continue to insult and that's evidence of your manners not improving either.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have to side with CentralCali on this one. The situation described here could have been posted verbatim in the early 90s when I first arrived.

Unfortunately, regarless of countless stickies and posts containing advice and warnings, people continue to sign contracts and to come over to work for less than scrupulous employers without doing sufficient due diligence.

Dave's should be mandatory reading, particularly the stickies, for anyone looking to come over and teach, no matter the venue.
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