Sunday, July 25, 2010

They Can Kill You, But the Legalities of Eating You Are Quite a Bit Dicier

I have received a contract from SMOE, signed it, and sent it on to a Korean consulate for visa purposes.  There's nothing too crazy in the contract, though it's clearly designed to protect SMOE against the foreign teacher and provide the former as much latitude as possible in squeezing productivity out of the latter.  It's a bilingual document (English translation provided by SMOE) but in any dispute the Korean text--incomprehensible to most foreign teachers--prevails.  I expected all of this.  In fact, I read last year's SMOE contract before applying. 

A more novel document is the 9-part SMOE 2010 addendum I was required to sign months before receiving the contract proper.  Its conclusion is worth quoting (emphasis mine, caps sic):
  • I fully and forever RELEASE, WAIVE AND DISCHARGE, and COVENANT NOT TO SUE the S.M.O.E.... from and for any and all demands, claims, actions, suits, damages, losses, liabilities, costs and expenses, from any cause whatsoever (including, but not limited to, travel delays, property damage and loss, bodily injuries, sickness, disease and death), directly or indirectly arising in connection with my participation in employment with the S.M.O.E., whether or not foreseeable or contributed to by the negligent acts or omissions of S.M.O.E...
Korean contracts for foreign teachers have evolved over time to prevent the recurrence of common disputes, becoming more specific about duties, pay, and benefits, as one would expect, but one has to wonder what exigencies have compelled SMOE to worry about being sued for negligently manslaughtering its teachers...

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