A firefighter’s appeal for nullification of his suspension was upheld by the Seoul Administrative Court, Thursday.
The man had been given a month’s suspension by his fire station after it was made known that he and his girlfriend had two abortions.
The man has been a firefighter for 10 years, and had been common-law married since 2014 with a woman he had met online following his divorce.
Court reports say the woman became pregnant four months into their cohabitation, but the man decided they could not raise the child nor continue the relationship. After breaking off the relationship, the woman aborted the baby with money he supplied. The two later reunited, however, and she soon became pregnant for a second time. Once again, she aborted the baby.
The woman’s father reported the case to the man’s fire station. The station then suspended him from working for violation of his duty as a public officer to maintain dignity.
The firefighter objected to decision, claiming matters regarding his relationship were in the private realm and unrelated to his job. He said the abortion was never coerced, but was done under mutual agreement and acknowledgement that the woman’s state of health made it difficult for the two of them to maintain the marriage or dive into child-rearing.
The court took into consideration that the man had successfully fulfilled his duties as a public officer for a considerable duration of time and that the woman did not wish for the man to be penalized. The appeals court ultimately decided a month’s suspension from work went beyond the scope of the fire station, and ruled it unlawful.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)