A large South Korean corporation’s U.S. branch has been hit with a lawsuit for laying off an employee who is suffering from a severe illness.
DIO USA’s former salesman, who only wished to be identified by his last name Ji, recently filed a discrimination lawsuit at the L.A. Superior Court against his employer.
Dental implant manufacturer DIO USA is one of the largest corporations to operate a U.S. branch. The company has even turned public since starting its U.S. business.
Ji reportedly notified DIO USA in June of last year after he was diagnosed with a thyroid cancer. The illness required a surgery in August. He was fired shortly after letting his employer know about his health situation.
“I was directly told that the headquarters saw no reason to keep a sick person,” Ji said. “They said that they cannot go together with someone who’s sick. Since then, I’ve been pressured to quit as they forced me to perform duties that had nothing to do with my primary task, which was sales.”
Ji added that he was also forced to consume alcohol during company mealtimes even after clearly letting his employer know about his illness.
“They requested that I drink with our business partners since a salesman cannot avoid ‘drinking for business,’” Ji said. “If it weren’t for this sort of culture, my illness wouldn’t have grown as much as it did.”
Ji even had to pay for his surgery in August with his own insurance. Although he made a request for an unpaid vacation in August, DIO USA still instructed him to perform work duties, Ji said.
Finally, DIO USA sent an email to Ji in September to notify him of its decision to lay him off for “poor sales performances.”
“I was fired abruptly for doing poorly when I clearly fulfilled the demands states in my contract [$660,000 per year],” Ji said. “This company is trying to expand across the country, but they’ve been violating labor laws by bringing employees from the headquarters in Korea without a work visa.”
Ji’s lawyer pointed to DIO USA’s alleged treatment of Ji and called it “an evil company.”
“It is illegal for an employer to lay off an employee over his health conditions,” he said. “The employer has the responsibility to ensure rights of an employee by providing sufficient assistance.”
DIO USA’s lawyer has already made a request to postpone the deadline for responding to the lawsuit to Jan. 27. The original deadline was initially set for Jan. 14.
The Korea Daily attempted to contact DIO USA about Ji, but did not receive a comment.
Meanwhile, DIO Implant is a global corporation selling dental care products. The company has branches in the U.S. Canada, Mexico, Australia, China and Brazil. It is also currently exporting implants to 70 countries around the world.
By Yeol Jang