Sexual harassment victims in South Korea face retaliation

More than eight out of 10 people who reported sexual harassment at the workplace said they suffered from some form of retaliation.
By: | May 23, 2022

This was according to Gapjil 119, which campaigns against workplace abuses. The civic group announced its analysis of the 205 reports it received from abuse victims between January 2021 and March 2022.

About 100 of the reports were from those who had filed complaints about sexual harassment against either their employer or other institutions. 

About 90% of them said they did not receive due protection after speaking out about sexual harassment, and 83% said they experienced retaliation, the group said.

About 64% of the victims identified their superiors as harassers, while 30% of the cases involved their employers, according to the group’s survey, which allowed multiple responses. 

The study showed that 79% of sexual harassment victims were also bullied at the workplace. 

Verbal sexual harassment was the most common form of offence, experienced by 76.1% of the victims. It was followed by physical sexual harassment at 43.4% and visual sexual harassment at 6.3%. 

In addition, Gapjil 119 said there is still prevalent gender discrimination in hiring, wage and promotion. 

A total of 542 complaints about gender discrimination in employment were filed with the labour ministry between January 2021 and March 2022, but there were no cases in which the ministry conducted labour supervision at the workplace, the group said, citing government data provided by an opposition lawmaker. 

READ: 43.1% of listed companies in South Korea cut workforce

A revised law took effect recently with enhanced measures against workplace gender discrimination and sexual misconduct. Under the amendment, employees can report such incidents to the Regional Labor Relations Commission. The government agency can order corrective measures after deliberation, and employers who fail to comply without proper reasons can be fined up to 100 million won (US$78,000), according to Yonhap.