July 18, 2018
On July 18th (Wed.), the government deliberated and decided on the Workplace Harassment Eradication Measures at its 46th Policy Coordination Meeting presided over by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon.
As part of efforts to purge deep-rooted evils of life in Korea, the government came up with comprehensive measures to eradicate workplace harassment which are a follow-up to the Public-Sector Gapjil* Eradication Measures announced on July 5th.
*Gapjil refers to the abuse of power by someone in a superior position against a person in a weaker position.
The Workplace Harassment Eradication Measures comprise 21 improvement tasks across the six stages of the entire eradication process, including reporting, punishment of harassers, support for victims, prevention and education. Their main contents are as follows:
① (Recognition and reporting) The definition of workplace harassment will be established to allow people to recognize whether harassment has occurred or not, and it will be mandatory for workplaces to create an internal complaint procedure based on the established definition. Meanwhile, the government will unify its harassment complaint channels.*
* The Gapjil Complaint Center, a government-wide integrated complaint channel, is due to be set up by the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission on its website (www.epeople.go.kr) in August.
② (Investigation) Employers will be required to investigate allegations of workplace harassment. Relevant public authorities will conduct an ex-officio investigation if a violation of any relevant law is found.
* As a result of ex-officio investigation, criminal punishment or a fine will be imposed according to the relevant law.
③ (Punishment of harassers) A provision obligating employers to ban harassment at work will be introduced. The government will also thoroughly investigate and strictly deal with various types of workplace harassment, including acts of violence committed using one's superior position.
④ (Protection of victims) Dismissal and any other disadvantageous treatment of workplace harassment victims or complainants will be prohibited. The government will also enhance compensation for victims and expand legal consulting services and litigation support for them.
⑤ (Employers' responsibility) Employers' obligation to take disciplinary action, etc., against harassers if workplace harassment occurs will be expanded. Criteria for punishing those who violate this obligation will be established.
⑥ (Prevention and education) It will be mandatory to provide workplace harassment prevention education. The adoption of a tripartite declaration will be pursued to entrench a sound workplace culture.
Moreover, in the case of certain sectors prone to workplace harrassment, including medical service, education, art and sport, the government will implement additional tailored meausres.
The government will actively push ahead with the workplace harassment prevention measures. It will begin an overhaul of five relevant laws* in the second half of this year and promptly implement improvement measures related to each stage.
* Labor Standards Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Medical Service Act, Higher Education Act and Artists Welfare Act