KGS makes amends with job applicants it wronged

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KGS makes amends with job applicants it wronged

Korea Gas Safety Corporation (KGS) on Tuesday hired eight out of 12 job seekers who fell victim to its own unfair hiring practices - the jobs they applied for in 2015 and 2016 went to people from connected families.

It is the first public company to make amends for unfair hiring practices in the recent past. Other public institutions and agencies are expected to follow suit in coming months.

According to KGS, 12 applicants made it to final interviews in January 2015 and May 2016 when the state-own company was hiring new recruits. They did well in the interviews but their jobs were given to connected applicants.

The HR office at KGS contacted the applicants to inform them they can now be accepted as new recruits. Four turned the jobs down because they were accepted by other companies or government offices.

The eight who accepted will start July 2 along with other 76 new recruits the state-owned company plans to hire in the first half of the year.

The company is not releasing the names of the eight applicants.

Last July, the Board of Audit and Inspection uncovered unfair hiring practices that favored connected applicants at KGS and recommended prosecutors file criminal charges.

In January, the Cheongju District Court sentenced former KGS CEO Park Ki-dong to four years in prison and fined him more than 400 million won ($376,000) for working with five KGS employees to interfere with the recruitment process. The five employees that collaborated with Park were fired and three applicants who were hired wrongly were let go.

Other public companies are accused of similar practices, although KGS was the first to have a court rule on them.

In late January the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and 18 other government departments announced the results of internal investigations of hiring practices. The results showed that among 1,190 public institutions and local government institutions, 80 percent or 946 institutions were suspected of allowing outside influences to affect their hiring process. The total number of cases amounted to 4,788.

Some 68 public institutions and companies including the Export-Import Bank of Korea and Seoul National University Hospital were recommended to be prosecuted.

In January, Deputy Finance Minister Kim Yong-jin said the public sector should set an example of fairness.

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