Samsung Electronics: Court sends top managers straight to jail

The continuing disregard of employee rights at Samsung Electronics has serious consequences for leading managers. The incumbent supervisory board chief has to go to prison, and various other managers have also been convicted.
Samsung Electronics: Court sends top managers straight to jail

A court in the South Korean capital of Seoul ruled that 64-year-old Lee Sang-hoon had to be held in jail for 18 months. He was arrested in the courtroom and transferred to a detention centre. 

The lawsuit involved crimes he committed between 2012 and 2017 when he was still chief financial officer for the electronics manufacturer. In March 2018, he took over the chief position on the supervisory board.

Samsung Electronics: Court sends top managers straight to jail

The court found it proven that Lee and several other managers had violated South Korea's labour laws, the Wall Street Journal reported, As a representative of the company, they had worked actively for years on organizing customer service workers. 

In doing so, they used the opportunities offered in their positions to create personal profiles of employees who were members of the union. This included the marital status, the financial situation and also illnesses - basically, all possible information was collected which was suitable to put pressure on employees if necessary.

All around the court

The extent to which this must have assumed can be guessed at by the judgment. After all, Samsung is the most powerful company in South Korea and has an enormous impact on various areas of society. And if the company's top managers are even sent to prison for violations of labour law, a lot must have accumulated.

24 other managers of the company were on trial with Lee. These were also found guilty and received tiered lower penalties. Samsung tries to present the story in official communication as an expression of a corporate culture that has now been overcome. 

It was understood that the views of unions in the past had not been consistent with the social status of these organizations.

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