Turkish court fines South Korean Embassy 1 million TL for not paying employee’s insurance
Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARAA Turkish court has ruled for the South Korean Embassy in Ankara to pay a total of 1 million Turkish Liras in unpaid insurance premiums and other monies owed to one of its former employees.
Leman Figen Bekman, who worked in the South Korean Embassy in Ankara between 1999 and 2010, learned that the embassy had not paid any insurance premiums during her first three years in office and after paid her premiums over the minimum wage. Bekman then filed a suit against the embassy and Turkey’s Social Security Institution (SGK).
An Ankara court punished the South Korean Embassy for paying less than the original amount of Bekman’s insurance premium and fined the embassy 1 million liras.
The embassy will pay SGK the entire insurance premium Bekman was not paid in the first three years of her employment at the embassy and also pay the rest of the insurance premium that they paid over a minimum wage, despite her wage being much higher. The court also ruled for the embassy to pay Bekman the difference in her retirement pension together with the interest that she has been receiving since her retirement in 2010.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a diplomatic note to all of the embassies in the country, stating they should abide with labor laws when employing Turkish citizens or non-Turkish citizens who hold a permanent residency permit.
“Diplomatic immunity does not bring the right not to enforce the laws; carry out the legislation on labor,” read a part of the permit.
If the Court of Appeals approves the decision, this will serve as a model for future cases, according to Bekman’s lawyer, Ömer Baran Ermiş.
“This is a victory of law. There are many victims just like my client. Embassies victimize employees by using their diplomatic immunity as a shield,” said Ermiş.