A 30-year-old Korean-American filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) last May, claiming Busan Global Village, an English-immersion facility in Busan, paid him less than other native English speakers due to his birthplace, South Korea.It's nice to see the NHRCK speaking out about such discrimination. At the same time, it's hard not to notice that this person filed a complaint with the NHRCK in May - fifteen months after Ben Wagner and ATEK filed complaints with NHRCK over HIV and drug testing for E-2 visa holders - and has already gotten a response. One difference is that the rights commission isn't too worried about taking on an English village, but seems far more reticent to challenge the Ministry of Justice.
The petitioner was adopted by a family in the U.S. when he was 18 months old. He grew up there as a U.S. citizen, using English as his primary language.
He was hired by the institute last year and coerced to sign a contract that treated him like an English-speaking Korean, whose annual pay was roughly 7-10 million won ($6,100-8,700) less than those of native English speakers who were not ethnically Korean. He worked there between July 2009 and April this year.
The NHRC investigated the case and concluded the petitioner should not be differentiated from native speakers when teaching English.
“Considering that he lived nearly his entire his life in the U.S. and speaks English as his primary language, the petitioner should be treated the same as other native speakers in payment,” the NHRC said in a statement.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Not the ruling you might be expecting, however. The National Human Rights Commission announced yesterday (in one of 8 articles on the topic) that it had judged that not acknowledging someone's qualification as a native speaker because they were born in Korea is discrimination, and warned an English Village about this practice. I noticed this yesterday but imagined one of the English dailies would translate it, and both Arirang and the Korea Times obliged. Here's how the KT reported it: