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Disciplinary Proceedings against a Deceased Person is a Violation of Human Rights

  • 2020-02-04
  • 1803

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Disciplinary Proceedings against a Deceased Person is a Violation of Human Rights


-NHRCK recommends Company A to amend rules related to disciplinary action against deceased employees-

 

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK, Chairperson Young-ae Choi) recommended the Chairperson of Company A to amend rules and employee manuals about disciplinary action against workers who lost their lives on the job and notify amendments to regional branches to prevent the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against deceased employees and notification to their families of such proceedings. The Commission stressed that the company should abolish the current practice of applying the same disciplinary procedures to deceased and retired employees and notifying the deceased’s family members of its decision.

 

The petition sent to the NHRCK by the deceased employee’s child states that “despite the fact that the victim lacks the ability to defend himself, Company A initiated disciplinary proceedings and delivered the decision to take disciplinary action against the deceased employee, causing immense distress to the family members.”

 

The company responded that “it was just an internal decision-making process to ensure that the conduct of the employee merits disciplinary action, rather than the exercise of an employer’s authority to discipline an employee” It added that “the disciplinary proceedings were inevitable as there was a need to provide compensations for damages in relation to the lapses found in the audit process.”

 

The NHRCK acknowledged the need for internal investigation or audit to verify the facts about the conduct of the deceased employee and claim compensation for damages. The Commission concluded, however, that the disciplinary decision was an assessment of a deceased person and thus should have been excluded from the investigation process.

 

The Commission noted that a deceased person should enjoy the protection of personality after death to fully protect the dignity and value of human beings and disciplinary decision cannot be made against a deceased person except under certain special circumstances, given the difficulty of redressing the harm caused by such decision to the person’s reputation.

 

Accordingly, the Second Committee on Human Rights Violations, established within the NHRCK, issued its decision confirming that Company A’s disciplinary decision caused unnecessary damage to the reputation of the deceased person. The Committee concluded that such acts constitute a violation of the rights to reputation of the deceased and their families defined under Article 10 of the Constitution. 

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