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Advice on leaving a Hagwon
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SeoulNate



Joined: 04 Jun 2010
Location: Hyehwa

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are going to can you the second you hand them that letter. It basically allows them free reign to fire you at a moments notice and not face the consequences of the labor board.

IT'S A TRAP!

No LoR = no resignation
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RunReilly wrote:
I need quick advice. Please help.

My manager is telling me to sign the resignation letter april 10th, when we first began conversations of my departure. This smells like BS.

Also, i asked about when i would meet with the director to hand this in and discuss my letter of release. and the response i got was "there is no meeting scheduled. He still has not made up his mind."

I think i should refuse to sign any date before today. I think this will result in my firing.


Sign NOTHING.

They give LOR they get your resignation (POST DATED to the same effective date).

Otherwise they can follow labor law for termination of employment:
- 30 days notice in writing (effectively does the same as a LOR) or
- 30 days pay in lieu AND written termination of employment.

.
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ontheway



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere under the rainbow...

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RunReilly wrote:
I need quick advice. Please help.

My manager is telling me to sign the resignation letter april 10th, when we first began conversations of my departure. This smells like BS.

Also, i asked about when i would meet with the director to hand this in and discuss my letter of release. and the response i got was "there is no meeting scheduled. He still has not made up his mind."

I think i should refuse to sign any date before today. I think this will result in my firing.



The reality is that signing or not signing a letter of resignation doesn't matter much at this point.

You have already resigned. You gave your notice. The fact that notice from you is required in writing in the contract doesn't prevent you from resigning without written notice. When you quit verbally the clock started ticking on your ending date and you should be ready to leave the school and your housing by mid June.

The notice in writing that you are required to give in your contract is there to protect the school. They can sue you for damages if you quit without adequate notice as agreed in the contract or without written notice. However, they accepted your verbal notice, so they have been notified. They have no claim against you.

And you cannot use your failure to adhere to terms of the contract as a defense when your job ends in mid June. A defense for you can only arise from the school's failure to adhere to relevant and material terms in the contract. Your failure to give your notice in writing is not a defense for you.

Fortunately for you, your school still seems to be concerned about the written resignation. So, you should use that to your advantage. You should write up your own Letter of Release dated June 15, 2014. (Samples have been posted on Dave's before.) Take your letter of release to the school along with an unsigned letter of resignation.

Try to set up a meeting. Explain how much you like Korea and you really wish that everything had worked out at the school and lots of nice blather. Sit down to a calm meeting with the owner/director/manager or whoever is the key person that can actually sign the LOR. Explain very calmly that you want everything to go smoothly with your relationship and leaving the school. You wish them all the best. You'll help them with training a new teacher etc. Then explain to them that after they sign the LOR and give it back to you, you will sign the letter of resignation and give it to them. This is your best option to get an LOR. You should do this ASAP.

Eventually your school will realize that they don't need anything in writing from you. If they were really smart they would have done a letter to you accepting your verbal resignation. They still can. But they don't need it. You have resigned. The Labor office won't care that you didn't give written notice. They also won't care that the school didn't give written notice, as long as there was at least 30 days' notice - and since you will have known for more than 60 days - there is little chance of either party claiming damages. Mid June is a vague ending date. You might have more time, but you should expect to be gone by June 15.
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SeoulNate



Joined: 04 Jun 2010
Location: Hyehwa

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ontheway wrote:

Eventually your school will realize that they don't need anything in writing from you. If they were really smart they would have done a letter to you accepting your verbal resignation. They still can. But they don't need it. You have resigned. The Labor office won't care that you didn't give written notice. They also won't care that the school didn't give written notice, as long as there was at least 30 days' notice - and since you will have known for more than 60 days - there is little chance of either party claiming damages. Mid June is a vague ending date. You might have more time, but you should expect to be gone by June 15.


I could be wrong on this, but the last time I checked the Korean labor laws, employees MUST be notified of their dismissal in writing.
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ghostrider



Joined: 27 Jun 2011

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your resignation letter could include a line like this- "In our discussions on this topic, we have mutually agreed that I will be released from my contract on June 15, 2014 (or whenever). This date will be my last day of employment at BS Academy." Both parties should have a copy. Insist that you will only sign the employer's copy if he stamps your copy. You might be able to even use it as a LOR.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It you didn't get a LOR yesterday, pull a midnight runner. I don't understand why you keep working for free.
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RunReilly



Joined: 22 May 2013
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, long story short, I decided to gamble yesterday and take them on their word. We will see if this turns out to be a big mistake (no pay/no LOR) or a wise decision (LoR/Pay/New job-->happy).

I basically am banking on the school's pride in their reputation; which they take very seriously. They are a large school (3 branches) in a very affluent area of a Daegu and they have a good reputation amongst super-strict Korean parents. Surely they must understand that I will absolutely drag their online reputation through the mud (and I have the horror stories to back it) if they do something stupid. I will absolutely ruin their online reputation and hurt their recruiting.

I also don't want to screw over my co-teachers, who will probably have to feel the rage and teach more classes if I leave before my replacement arrives.

The fact that he would not sign the LoR last night was puzzling. I couldn't tell if he was afraid that I would flee to another job prematurely (he mentioned this) or if it was simply a pride issue from someone who is used to being surrounded by sycophants; namely 'I get what I want, when I want, no questions asked. The LoR is MY decision and if/when I give it, it should be seen as an act of benevolence.' Of course, the other [obvious] possibility is that he doesn't intend to ever sign it at all.

If I don't try anything funny and work for the next two weeks, maybe I will get the LoR and the director will provide decent references. This would be absolutely ideal for me. On the other hand, its also pretty clear that I'm in a position to be screwed.

For the next two week I'll just be as polite as possible and hope for the best. I've been through much worse things in my life.
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RunReilly wrote:
Surely they must understand that I will absolutely drag their online reputation through the mud (and I have the horror stories to back it) if they do something stupid. I will absolutely ruin their online reputation and hurt their recruiting.


This will get you sued and you will lose. Truth is NOT a defense. You're not in Kansas anymore there Toto.

You may also get your passport pulled (by the police, courts or immigration) while it gets sorted out (and your embassy won't/can't help you get out of the country if it does).

RunReilly wrote:
The fact that he would not sign the LoR last night was puzzling.

No puzzle. He is NOT legally obligated to give one.
You are screwed without one and he knows it.


RunReilly wrote:
The LoR is MY decision and if/when I give it, it should be seen as an act of benevolence.' Of course, the other [obvious] possibility is that he doesn't intend to ever sign it at all.

One and the same.

RunReilly wrote:
For the next two week I'll just be as polite as possible and hope for the best. I've been through much worse things in my life.


Good luck to you.
How do you feel about China, Taiwan or Thailand?
Hope you have money for a flight out of Korea and funds to last you for 30 days.

.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RunReilly wrote:
For the next two week I'll just be as polite as possible and hope for the best.


You should've continued to work for money instead of continuing to work for free.
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RunReilly



Joined: 22 May 2013
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttompatz wrote:

This will get you sued and you will lose. Truth is NOT a defense. You're not in Kansas anymore there Toto.


I would wait till I'm back in Kansas to write anything... And how did you know my name is Toto?!!

ttompatz wrote:

Good luck to you.
How do you feel about China, Taiwan or Thailand?
Hope you have money for a flight out of Korea and funds to last you for 30 days.


I would go back home, see my family, work a summer job, and consider coming back to work at a less militant school. I imagine there are some here in Korea that might actually do their part to reduce teen stress/suicide. Quite different from the Gulag I'm in now. And when I apply, I can say that I resigned rather than was fired. Hell, maybe I can even expect a less-than damning reference such as "He was not a culture fit."

This brings me to my next point. I feel its important to mention this because all I keep hearing is "you're getting screwed" and "you're working for free." First off, I've been getting screwed since the night I got here. I'm used to it. Furthermore, I've done right by this school and my coworkers. I tried my best to make it work at this miserable school for over a half a year now. I didn't leave on a dime or burn my bridge with Korea when I know many would have.

After expressing my decision to leave, I agreed to stay here and work for (what will be) 2 months so they can find a replacement and so my coworkers won't be left picking up the slack and suffering the inevitable crackdown. Basically, I'm giving them 2 month's worth of reasons for handing me that release letter. If I get screwed, so be it. I tried. At least I know I did the right thing.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RunReilly wrote:
I didn't leave on a dime or burn my bridge with Korea when I know many would have.

At least I know I did the right thing.


Pulling a runner isn't synonymous with burning a bridge with Korea. I burned my bridge with Wonderland, but I'm working in Korea right now.

If you were in Wichita, Coffeyville, Salina or Topeka, what you're doing could be considered "the right thing." You're in Daegu.
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newchamp



Joined: 09 Mar 2013

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttompatz wrote:
RunReilly wrote:
Surely they must understand that I will absolutely drag their online reputation through the mud (and I have the horror stories to back it) if they do something stupid. I will absolutely ruin their online reputation and hurt their recruiting.


This will get you sued and you will lose. Truth is NOT a defense. You're not in Kansas anymore there Toto.

You may also get your passport pulled (by the police, courts or immigration) while it gets sorted out (and your embassy won't/can't help you get out of the country if it does).

Have you ever actually known a teacher who got sued? DETAILS please.

OP, there are other ways to damage a school's reputation besides online comments, but it can take some spine. Realize that directors ARE afraid of you, too. I wish teachers would realize that. They know that if you're creative you CAN do damage to their school's reputation. If the school tries to deny you the release letter on your last day, turn around 180 degrees from your nice boy strategy and SCREAM. Put some fear into them and let them know you're not going to go away until they fork it over. You've been more than fair with them. If you fail to stand up for yourself, you'll be making it that much harder for other teachers. That's not "doing the right thing."
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ontheway



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere under the rainbow...

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SeoulNate wrote:
ontheway wrote:

Eventually your school will realize that they don't need anything in writing from you. If they were really smart they would have done a letter to you accepting your verbal resignation. They still can. But they don't need it. You have resigned. The Labor office won't care that you didn't give written notice. They also won't care that the school didn't give written notice, as long as there was at least 30 days' notice - and since you will have known for more than 60 days - there is little chance of either party claiming damages. Mid June is a vague ending date. You might have more time, but you should expect to be gone by June 15.


I could be wrong on this, but the last time I checked the Korean labor laws, employees MUST be notified of their dismissal in writing.



1) The OP resigned. There is no requirement that an employee's resignation be in writing.

2) The "in writing" rule essentially functions as a guideline. There is no penalty for a dismissal made without written notification. There is a penalty for not giving 30 days work or pay. As long as the employee was given notice or pay - in some combination that adds up to 30 days - there is no penalty for a verbal or non-written notice. (In essence, when an employee who has passed the legal probationary period is terminated, except for cause allowing immediate dismissal, such as criminal activity, the employee must get 30 days' pay whether working or not.) There are many ways to prove that notice was given in some form - including this thread on Dave's. Of course if there is a dispute about notice and the employer cannot prove that notice was given, then the employer may have to pay an extra 30 days' pay - a significant penalty if 30 days' notice was already given.
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RunReilly



Joined: 22 May 2013
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate to bump this thread, but the saga continues. Also, I’m well aware that you guys can generally answer my questions in a fraction of the time that it takes to research this stuff out on the web.

Three interesting developments today:
1) My replacement arrived and started his training.
2) I got paid in full for the month of May.
3) My end date magically has been pushed back till the END of the month.

This leaves me with more time than I originally thought (maybe 7 weeks?). Still “no decision” about my LoR. With that said, rather than go home, I might have enough time to get my documents together while I’m here.

I recently heard from a coworker that the immigration office keeps copies of EVERYTHING I would need to get another visa sponsor EXCEPT the FBI background check. Is this true?! If so, that certainly simplifies everything.

I would have started the process a couple of weeks ago if my school wasn’t so bent on keeping me in the dark. I honestly figured today they were going to tell me to move out of my apartment and/or let me know about the LoR. Instead it looks like their plan is to keep me around for a little while. If I have time to get this stuff in order, it might make sense to not fly home after all.

Thanks guys
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newchamp



Joined: 09 Mar 2013

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you have any clue how inconsiderate it is of them to mess around with your release letter when you've given 2 months notice? How are you supposed to start looking for another job? And now they want to mess around with your end date?

I'm disgusted that you're just sitting there and taking that.

You might want to go to Immigration and make sure your employers didn't mess around with your visa. Maybe they already fired you and you are working for free. After all, they're not worried you're going to do anything.
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