February 25, 2018, 01:43:56 PM

Author Topic: Is ageism illegal in Korea?  (Read 614 times)

Offline Taal

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 71
  • Gender: Male
Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« on: February 10, 2018, 02:22:43 AM »
Just wondering..

There was a kiwi guy over 40 working in my school in Busan until two months ago. He did pretty well and the parents liked him, and he also had a tesol. He'd been there for about three years so I'm told. At the end of his contract the management replaced him with an american woman with no experience or qualifications. I overheard the owner talking about it at the time and he said they wanted someone younger.

Maybe a hogwon is not really the place for someone over 25 but all the same, it seems kinda.. wrong that they are throwing away more qualified people simply because they are older. This is partly why I would never waste money on a tefl for korea, because they aren't really interested in your skills. Job ads don't specify a desired age, but they do use words like "fresh", "energetic" which are basically code words for "we want really young people".

I wish I'd recorded their conversation, because surely this kind of thing is illegal in Korea? or isn't it?


Online eggieguffer

  • The Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 3591
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2018, 05:53:12 AM »
Just wondering..

There was a kiwi guy over 40 working in my school in Busan until two months ago. He did pretty well and the parents liked him, and he also had a tesol. He'd been there for about three years so I'm told. At the end of his contract the management replaced him with an american woman with no experience or qualifications. I overheard the owner talking about it at the time and he said they wanted someone younger.

Maybe a hogwon is not really the place for someone over 25 but all the same, it seems kinda.. wrong that they are throwing away more qualified people simply because they are older. This is partly why I would never waste money on a tefl for korea, because they aren't really interested in your skills. Job ads don't specify a desired age, but they do use words like "fresh", "energetic" which are basically code words for "we want really young people".

I wish I'd recorded their conversation, because surely this kind of thing is illegal in Korea? or isn't it?

It's not illegal, big Korean companies do it all the time. While the kiwi guy may have been a better teacher, though an online TESOL cert in teaching adults, which he probably had is no particular guarantee of that, the younger woman was probably livelier. Generally people are less inclined to put on silly voices, pull silly expressions and dance around like monkeys the older they get. Since your average hagwan owner probably views all these as being signs of a good foreign teacher, they are fairly justified in wanting someone younger. It's their business after all. I think it can work both ways. I've heard when I've worked as a teacher trainer that students appreciate someone older with more experience. They also generally prefer older university teachers as they're less likely to get off with the students.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 06:13:22 AM by eggieguffer »

Online sligo

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 620
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2018, 08:40:33 AM »
Just wondering..

There was a kiwi guy over 40 working in my school in Busan until two months ago. He did pretty well and the parents liked him, and he also had a tesol. He'd been there for about three years so I'm told. At the end of his contract the management replaced him with an american woman with no experience or qualifications. I overheard the owner talking about it at the time and he said they wanted someone younger.

Maybe a hogwon is not really the place for someone over 25 but all the same, it seems kinda.. wrong that they are throwing away more qualified people simply because they are older. This is partly why I would never waste money on a tefl for korea, because they aren't really interested in your skills. Job ads don't specify a desired age, but they do use words like "fresh", "energetic" which are basically code words for "we want really young people".

I wish I'd recorded their conversation, because surely this kind of thing is illegal in Korea? or isn't it?

Recording a conversatio you are not part of IS illegal in Korea!

Offline Taal

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 71
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2018, 01:24:18 PM »
It's not illegal, big Korean companies do it all the time.


Just because Korean companies do it does not mean it is legal.

Turns out it is illegal:

Quote
The Prohibition of Age Discrimination in Employment and Aged Employment Promotion Act (the “AEPA”) is the primary law that specifically deals with age discrimination related issues in Korea.
http://www.agediscrimination.info/international-age-discrimination/south-korea

Quote
Korean Laws in English
Act on Age Discrimination in Employment and Aged Employment Promotion
http://www.moleg.go.kr/english/korLawEng?pstSeq=47460

Quote
the younger woman was probably livelier. It's their business after all.


Well there you go justifying discrimination and recycling stereotypes.

Just because someone owns their own business does not entitle them to break the law and act unethically.


Online eggieguffer

  • The Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 3591
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2018, 04:00:57 PM »
It's not illegal, big Korean companies do it all the time.


Just because Korean companies do it does not mean it is legal.

Turns out it is illegal:

Quote
The Prohibition of Age Discrimination in Employment and Aged Employment Promotion Act (the “AEPA”) is the primary law that specifically deals with age discrimination related issues in Korea.
http://www.agediscrimination.info/international-age-discrimination/south-korea

Quote
Korean Laws in English
Act on Age Discrimination in Employment and Aged Employment Promotion
http://www.moleg.go.kr/english/korLawEng?pstSeq=47460

That's interesting, I wonder how the Chaebols avoid all the law suits I guess if they're letting people go rather than hiring them, they can always justify it in other ways.

Quote
the younger woman was probably livelier. It's their business after all.


Well there you go justifying discrimination and recycling stereotypes.

Just because someone owns their own business does not entitle them to break the law and act unethically.

I don't think saying younger people in general have more energy is propagating an unethical stereotype. I know we're all supposed to pretend men and women are physically the same these days but I didn't know we had to do the same with young and older people.

If the hagwan owner in question wanted someone younger because the Kiwi guy wasn't energetic enough, the likelihood of a 25 year old being livelier is statistically greater than that of a forty something. If the Kiwi guy went against this stereotype, why did he want to get rid of him in the first place? 

I notice you didn't respond to my examples of older people being favored over younger ones. Personally I don't agree with the university example but is it wrong to choose older people because they reassure customers that they have experience? DIY stores in the UK employ older people for this reason. Is this also unethical discrimination and stereotyping?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 06:43:45 PM by eggieguffer »

Offline Taal

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 71
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2018, 07:27:00 PM »
That's interesting, I wonder how the Chaebols avoid all the law suits I guess if they're letting people go rather than hiring them, they can always justify it in other ways.


Encouragingly, legal action is increasing.

Quote
Although age discrimination is not yet considered by most people to be unfair, 919 among 11895 petitions to NHRCK were related to age: it was 3rd place with 7.7%. (1st disability, 2nd sexual harassment) combined with other factors of discrimination such as gender, low academic background, etc., the number of people who experienced age discrimination rises even more.
http://www.humanrightskorea.org/2012/age-discrimination-rigid-obstacle-to-employment/


Quote
I don't think saying younger people in general have more energy is propagating an unethical stereotype.
 

It depends on the individual. Many 20 year olds are lazy or lethargic. Many 40 year olds exercise more and are fitter. In any case its irrelevant because a teachers job description is to teach, not to dance or jump up and down.


Quote
I know we're all supposed to pretend men and women are physically the same these days but I didn't know we had to do the same with young and older people.

You're trying to portray all 40 year olds as practically bedbound like an 80 year old. Nonsense.

A lot of the stereotypes simply are not true. I used to work with a 58- year old at an international school. His classes were as fun, noisy and engaged as anybody elses. In fact more so than many younger teachers.

Korea has a demographic timebomb of an ageing population. If they remove everyone over 40 years of age from the workforce (when they are most qualified and experienced) then they are going to have a huge problem in coming years.

Quote
If the Kiwi guy went against this stereotype, why did he want to get rid of him in the first place?


I think its because a new manager took over who thought that parents wouldn't like older teachers. A lot of staff got changed suddenly when he arrived. So it was likely just down to the new directors preconceptions.

Quote
it can work both ways. I've heard when I've worked as a teacher trainer that students appreciate someone older with more experience.


If the older person has more experience then it is valid. If the person is simply older but with less experience then its not.

Quote
They also generally prefer older university teachers as they're less likely to get off with the students.

I agree, that shouldn't be a consideration.

But in both cases you're talking of prejudices that cause people not to be hired in the first place.

What I'm talking about here is when someone is terminated for nothing more than a perception. Maybe the parents hold biases and prefer their kids to be taught by a female. Its wrong, clearly: females are not necessarily better teachers than men.

How will be build better societies when employers pander to and reinforce prejudice to make a quick buck?

Online eggieguffer

  • The Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 3591
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2018, 07:43:41 PM »
Quote
You're trying to portray all 40 year olds as practically bedbound like an 80 year old. Nonsense.

That's a strawman

Quote
A lot of the stereotypes simply are not true. I used to work with a 58- year old at an international school. His classes were as fun, noisy and engaged as anybody elses. In fact more so than many younger teachers.

It depends on the individual. Many 20 year olds are lazy or lethargic. Many 40 year olds exercise more and are fitter. In any case its irrelevant because a teachers job description is to teach, not to dance or jump up and down.

And these are just 'not alls.' Twenty somethings are in general physically more capable than forty somethings of dancing around, crouching, singing being on their feet etc.. for prolonged periods. If that is how the hagwan owner judges the quality of a teacher, surely that's up to him. 

Quote
In any case its irrelevant because a teachers job description is to teach, not to dance or jump up and down.

I agree and if it was my school, I'd ask some questions about teaching at the interview instead. However, as previously mentioned the hagwan owner is entitled to draw up his own criteria for his own business.

Quote
If the older person has more experience then it is valid. If the person is simply older but with less experience then its not.

My DIY example was of people with more life experience, not experience of working in DIY stores. In your opinion. therefore this would be 'invalid' and therefore discriminatory?

Quote
How will be build better societies when employers pander to and reinforce prejudice to make a quick buck?

Is there any evidence of this? If the hagwan owner wanted to employ someone younger because they were more likely to be energetic, is that prejudice?  - a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. I'd say deciding that a younger person is likely to be more lively/energetic is an opinion based on reason and experience.

« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 10:35:07 PM by eggieguffer »

Offline Taal

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 71
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 12:04:59 AM »
the hagwan owner is entitled to draw up his own criteria for his own business.

Not really. If his criteria break the law then no.

Quote
My DIY example was of people with more life experience, not experience of working in DIY stores. In your opinion. therefore this would be 'invalid' and therefore discriminatory?

Sure. "more experience" should be experience related to the job.

The hogwon owner replaced someone more experienced and better qualified with someone less so, simply because she was younger and he thought the parents wanted to see a younger face. Thats not legitimate: its ageism.

In the same way some schools don't want to employ black people. Because they think the parents don't want their kids taught by blacks. They're pandering to societal racism, and thus.. reinforcing and validating it. These hogwons seem to be bastions of racism, sexism, ageism and every small minded prejudice known to man, usually because thats how the ajosshi owners tend to think/ claim that the parents think. Korea needs to get a handle on it. I'm talking strong government intervention into this shady private "education" sector.

The ideal school should be inclusive. It should represent the diversity of real life, where the kids get to interact with older people, colored people, disabled people, different nationalities. Not just 20 year old american blonde females.

Quote
If the hagwan owner wanted to employ someone younger because they were more likely to be energetic, is that prejudice?


So... by your logic, older engineers, and indeed 40 year olds of every profession from doctors to scientists, should be replaced with younger inexperienced, unqualified ones ..because they are likely to have more energy.

Online eggieguffer

  • The Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 3591
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 07:12:10 AM »
Quote
Sure. "more experience" should be experience related to the job.

The hogwon owner replaced someone more experienced and better qualified with someone less so, simply because she was younger and he thought the parents wanted to see a younger face. Thats not legitimate: its ageism.

In the same way some schools don't want to employ black people. Because they think the parents don't want their kids taught by blacks. They're pandering to societal racism, and thus.. reinforcing and validating it. These hogwons seem to be bastions of racism, sexism, ageism and every small minded prejudice known to man, usually because thats how the ajosshi owners tend to think/ claim that the parents think. Korea needs to get a handle on it. I'm talking strong government intervention into this shady private "education" sector.


We don't know any of this from the OP. He actually said the parents were happy with the teacher. I was arguing based on what the OP concluded, that the owner wanted someone more 'energetic.'

If the owner wanted someone younger because the parents demanded it, that's another issue. Similar to the 'attractive bar staff' analogy. The bar owner knows an attractive female bar maid will bring in the punters but he's not allowed to advertise for an attractive woman due to government intervention.  He's allowed to put the word 'attractive' in there so everyone pretty much knows the score. I guess like hagwan owners put in 'fresh' and 'lively.'

The government tells him that a bar should represent the diversity of real life where the punters can interact with people of all ages and sizes and levels of attractiveness but he's not convinced because he knows from experience what his punters want. Additionally the job requires very little skill (in his opinion) so not much else on the applicants' CVs is really important.

Sure the government or failed applicants can go after him if they want but until people's opinions change, it's all pretty ineffective. Meanwhile you're interfering in people's business. And that's assuming people's opinions are going to change and they're wrong in the first place. Are they all going to go after Koreanair and the like for having attractive flight attendants as well? Do people feel differently about attractive flight attendants after flying with British Airways or do they still like a young female in a nice, tight uniform? I'd guesstimate women (apart from feminists) don't much care one way or the other but men have a preference.

Quote
The ideal school should be inclusive. It should represent the diversity of real life, where the kids get to interact with older people, colored people, disabled people, different nationalities. Not just 20 year old american blonde females.

I agree. Just not sure legislation is the way to go.

Quote
So... by your logic, older engineers, and indeed 40 year olds of every profession from doctors to scientists, should be replaced with younger inexperienced, unqualified ones ..because they are likely to have more energy.

That's another strawman.

       
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 03:21:47 PM by eggieguffer »

Offline StillInKorea

  • Super Waygook
  • ***
  • Posts: 496
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2018, 11:30:33 AM »
The hogwon owner replaced someone more experienced and better qualified with someone less so, simply because she was younger and he thought the parents wanted to see a younger face. Thats not legitimate: its ageism.

It's business. I wouldn't hire an old teacher or a black teacher if I had a hagwon in Korea. In my home country, I'd be happy to hire an old person or a black person if they were the best candidate, but not in Korea. I wouldn't want to lose money.

Online eggieguffer

  • The Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 3591
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2018, 03:16:18 PM »
The hogwon owner replaced someone more experienced and better qualified with someone less so, simply because she was younger and he thought the parents wanted to see a younger face. Thats not legitimate: its ageism.

It's business. I wouldn't hire an old teacher or a black teacher if I had a hagwon in Korea. In my home country, I'd be happy to hire an old person or a black person if they were the best candidate, but not in Korea. I wouldn't want to lose money.


I think colour prejudice in Korea is based on ignorance and therefore would be easier to break down. You'd be taking a risk by employing a black teacher but I think there'd be enough customers prepared to keep an open mind to overcome that. Other preferences such as age may be based on real experience - e.g. look at how many teachers on here stereotype older teachers in the Korean PS system as being incompetent. maybe because there's some truth behind the stereotype? There may also be some truth behind stereotypes such as women and young people generally make better kindergarten teachers. If I'm honest, I reckon I'd probably be a better father in some ways now if I was twenty years younger.

« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 06:07:16 PM by eggieguffer »

Offline Taal

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 71
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2018, 06:32:45 PM »
look at how many teachers on here stereotype older teachers in the Korean PS system as being incompetent. maybe because there's some truth behind the stereotype?

If the stereotype is true, its not due to age but because they never had to pass the extremely tough exam that was brought in only a few years ago.

Up until about 2007 (?) it wasn't that hard to become a licensed teacher in Korea, they had an easier route into teaching. After that, the new rigorous selection process ensured that you basically had to have a very high IQ and work ethic to get in. The new younger teachers are the cream of the crop, no doubt about it.

Quote
I agree. Just not sure legislation is the way to go.

The government knows that 99% of the next generation is being "educated" in private hogwons. That makes it important enough to do something. They also know that hogwons are unregulated and may use unethical practices.

They've made repeated efforts to steal trade from hogwons (e.g. the after school programs) or even shut them down in cases, but have made little headway.

What I think they should do now is accept that hogwons aren't going to go away, but they must become regulated. For example they must hire teachers based on qualifications and experience, they must not discriminate based on looks, race or age. There has to be a way to ensure this somehow.

« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 06:39:08 PM by Taal »

Online oglop

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 965
  • Gender: Male
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 08:40:26 PM »
many PS teachers are simply lazy and unmotivated. there seems to be no korean equivalent of OFSTED (quality regulating body), so no incentive to do a good job. open classes are the exception, and we all know how much of a farce they are

not to mention teachers are swapped schools every 4 years. if i knew i had to transfer schools after a year, i'd probably take it a bit easier than in previous years

that, and your whole job depends on how big of a dick the school principal is

Online MayorHaggar

  • The Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 3249
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2018, 04:55:43 PM »
Of course there is ageism here. They talk about how much they honor and respect old people, but look at all the old people picking up cardboard boxes on the street. Korean employers typically fire everyone who isn't a manager around when they turn 45, because they'd rather hire a bunch of desperate pretty young people who don't know how to do their jobs than pay some old person who expects a raise every year.

As for foreigners, we get some ageism but I think mainly a lot of foreigners over the age of about 40 just don't want to bother with being here, so they self-select themselves out of Korea. People have families and mortgages and can't just up stakes and do a "Korea adventure" like younger people can. I've seen foreign teachers here in their 50's and 60's, but there's not many of them.

But I would not want to be here over the age of 40 at all, unless you have an F visa and can open your own business. Otherwise you'd always be employed at the whims of some dotty hagwon owner or ajeossi principal who thinks "being a good teacher" is 100% based on youth and looks.

Offline dippedinblush

  • Explorer
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Gender: Female
Re: Is ageism illegal in Korea?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2018, 09:08:15 PM »
I totally agree, Mayor..