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What is the Workplace Harassment Prevention Law?
Superiors use their higher rank to harass victims based on factors that are difficult to control (https://brunch.co.kr/@jaeyunchoi/15)

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea surveyed 1,500 men aged between 20 and 64 who had experience in the workforce and 73.7 percent of the respondents said that they had experienced workplace harassment. There are many different types of harassment in the workplace. One type of harassment is when a company and their team may impose social smoking, dining, and drinking under the pretext of workplace solidarity. If workers reject participating in these activities then human resources may penalize them. Another type of harassment is when people pick a specific person and collectively bully them. People may also verbally harass employees using slurs and abusive remarks which reduces employee self-esteem. In situations like this, people who are young and in lower positions are particularly vulnerable to workplace harassment. Workplace harassment laws were enforced on July 16 2019 to solve this problem. The Ministry of Employment and Labor officially stated that bullying in the workplace is an act that causes physical and mental pain to other workers.

An act of harassment in the workplace, the work for more than 10 full-time workers should include in the preventive and disciplinary information. If they don’t, they will receive a 500 million won fine. The phone number for harassment in the workplace is 1350 (no extension code). This number connects callers to the Employment and Labor Ministry counseling centers. Harassment can also be reported through the online counseling center of the Workers Welfare Network. The procedure for handling cases after receiving a report is as follows. First, the center will consult with the victims when harassment is reported. If the caller and the victim are not the same person, they will consult the caller first and talk to the victim later. In order to be recognized as harassment, all three of the following factors must be met.

First, an employee must be harmed by a superior in the workplace or through a relationship. The perpetrator must have used their higher rank to harass the victim based on factors that are difficult to control like age, academic background, and how many years they’ve worked for the company. Second, they should have been harmed by these actions beyond the scope of what is expected in the workplace. The request for personal errands that are not related to work does not fit this criteria. Third, the perpetrator must have caused physical and mental pain or worsened the working environment.

The civic group, Work Kabjil 119, held a contest to stop harassment in the workplace. The contest marked the second anniversary of its launch. Work Kabjil 119 announced on Monday that it has selected 33 winning submissions. The contest, which ran from Thursday to Sunday, brought together 39 hand-written works that showed how the workplace has changed since the enforcement of workplace anti-harassment laws. A nurse who accused her senior at a medical clinic was the focus of the award-winning film, ‘Break the Silence in the Environment of Harassment’. This film showed how the nurse reported harassment to the internal grievance department on behalf of colleagues who had gone into psychiatric treatment for bullying at work. The nurse continuously reported the damage to the company’s board, the complaint handling department, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae’s petition, and the media. Since then, an in-house bullying prevention system has been established at the hospital.

The adjudicators said, “It is a clear message that we can win against injustice if we fight to the end. This film will inspire strength and courage in many victims who are suffering from pain. The outrageous harassment of customers and superiors in the film made people feel a part of the struggle that the victims had to go through. The unwavering resistance of workers made viewers realize that work is not just a place to earn money to support your family. It is also a place where people can realize their own self-worth and find value in their work. It was not easy to pick among all the submissions because they all encouraged victims of workplace harassment to fight to restore their rights and protect their self-esteem.

By Park Jun-ho, reporter

박준호  micheen12@naver.com

<저작권자 © The Campus Journal, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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