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The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and MOGEF jointly announce the “Plan to Eliminate Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in the Workplace”
Name admin Date 2017-12-15

The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and MOGEF jointly announce the “Plan to Eliminate Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in the Workplace”


- The plan requires mandatory monitoring on sexual harassment in the workplace in all forms of labor inspection, establishes online centers at workplace to report incidents, and calls for an advertisement on the sexual harassment help process at all times.


- It lays out the plans to disseminate manuals on how to react after experiencing sexual harassment and to expand training for HR specialist.




Acknowledging the increase in the trends of sexual harassment at workplace and growing public interest in sexual violence at workplace due to a number of recent incidents, the Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) introduced the “Plan to Eliminate Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in the Workplace”.


* Number of sexual harassment cases in the workplace:
263(2012)→370(2013)→519(2014)→522(2015)→556(2016)→532(October, 2017)


* Conceptual differences between ‘sexual harassment in the workplace’ vs. ‘sexual violence in the workplace’: ‘Sexual harassment in the workplace’ is 1) using an authority at work or 2) offending someone by making unwelcome sexual remarks. ‘Sexual violence’ refers to a sexual act  committed against someone without that person’s consent by force and authority. If the conditions of 1) and 2) are met, the act is regarded as ‘sexual harassment in the workplace’.


Since the National Assembly passed the bill on the revision of the Equal Employment Opportunity and Work-Family Balance Assistance Act* to stipulate strengthened responsibilities for employers to prevent secondary victims of sexual harassment in the workplace on November 9, further prevention effect against sexual harassment at work is expected.


● When sexual harassment takes place in the workplace, employers are required to be investigated, to take appropriate action including protecting victims by changing the place of work, not to disclose information, and to protect victims of sexual harassment committed by customers.


Recently, there has been a rise in public awareness on sexual harassment in the workplace. This led us to introduce he plan to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.


<1. Strengthening training and monitoring system on sexual harassment in the workplace (MOEL)>


□ First, regardless of inspection types (long working hours, temporary employment, specific inspections by industry type), all labor inspections (imposed on 20,000 businesses per year) are now required to include the section on the sexual harassment in the workplace to strengthen monitoring on the issue.

* Whether there is preventive education on sexual harassment in the work place, and whether the employer takes an action when sexual harassment occurs.


□ Second, the process of counselling and reporting for the workplace sexual harassment will be extensively advertised with partnership of labor-management organizations and women’s organizations.


ㅇ Basic counselling services where victims can report sexual harassment in the workplace are provided at the MOEL Call Center (Tel: 1350) or the Fair Employment Call Centers (15 centers) located across the country.


ㅇ Complaints filing sexual harassment are investigated by the local labor office, which controls the workplace. When a violation of the law is identified, the workplace will be instructed to correct. In case of non-compliance, the judicial process will begin or penalty will be imposed.

Fair Employment Call Centers


 (15 private organizations across the country)
1350 (MOEL call center)




□ Third, the revision of the Equal Employment Opportunity and Work-Family Balance Assistance Act on November 9 has raised some penalties for sexual harassment violations in the workplace, however, it still needs to be further strengthened.


- We are working to raise current levels of penalties, and to introduce imprisonment or fines instead of penalties for some provisions.


<2. Strengthen prevention and countermeasures against sexual harassment in the workplace (MOEL)>


□ We plan to advise companies to establish a mechanism for the prevention and effective protection of rights against sexual harassment in the workplace.


First, companies with their own intranet system are advised to provide a channel where employees can freely seek counseling services or file complaints by establishing an online reporting center.


- If there is no intranet available, it is suggested that they designate a person to handle sexual harassment complaints.
Second, training materials on how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace that explain the process of sexual harassment case inspection and protection of victims’ rights are required to be posted within the company at all times*.


* The relevant law that mandates the information to be posted at all times from May 2018 passed the National Assembly on November 9, 2017.


- Moreover, administrative guidance is provided to utilize the “Standard Guidelines for Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace*” to enhance preventive education on sexual harassment.


* In addition to general knowledge on sexual harassment, strict policies and procedures for sexual harassment in the workplace are required to be included in the training.


Third, we will work on to discuss the preventive measure against sexual harassment in the workplace by utilizing the labor-management councils (50,000 places), which required to be present in the companies with 30 or more employees.


* Current legal framework: Article 20, Section 1, Clause 3 (Grievance of Workers) and Clause 15 (Matters concerning maternity protection and work and work-family balance) of the “Act on the Promotion of Workers’ Participation and Cooperation”


- In the future, we plan to work on stipulating the inclusion of sexual harassment issue in the key of the labor-management councils.


* The plan is to stipulate “matters concerning sexual harassment prevention and follow-up measures in the workplace” within the “Act on the Promotion of Workers’ Participation and Cooperation” (Article 20).


<3. Raise public awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace (MOEL)>


□ From November 14, relevant laws and information on sexual harassment in the workplace began to be disseminated in the form of a card news to provide greater access to the general public.


Card news is produced in three different types (for workers, employees, and educators) and will be available to be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Employment and Labor.  


 □ Sexual harassment in the workplace often occurs when the perpetrator is not even aware of whether the other person is offended.


- In this regard, we developed an app that provides a self-diagnostic tool to check the self-judgement and sensitivity towards sexual harassment

in the workplace. The app will be available in early December of this year.


<4. Elimination of Sexual Violence Using Authority within the Organization (MOGEF)>


□ First, to establish a system to help victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence within the organization,
We plan to ‘A Guideline to Deal with Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse Incidents within Organizations', which contains instructions on how to cope with different parties of the incident, such as managers, victims, and third parties.


※ (The current version only contains the content on sexual harassment. → In the future, the section on sexual violence will be added and the new version will be disseminated.)


We also plan to expand the educational support for HR officers who play the key roles in the incidents of sexual harassment or sexual violence. The goal is to help them better understand victims’ perspectives when they deal with the incidents.


Particularly, we will introduce a new training program to enhance gender responsiveness of the labor inspection officers who supervise the working environment and the relevant system.


□ Second, to improve an organizational culture that has been generous for sexual harassment and sexual violence incidents within the organization,


We will strengthen the on-site inspection and consulting on the preventive measures in the public sector. These measures include improving guidelines on the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual violence as well as on the prevention of recurrence.


In addition, for the private sector, we plan to expand the ‘Preventive Education against Violence' visits for small-scale companies with low access to such training.


To enhance the effect of preventive education, we will also provide training on gender equality to those have greater spill-over effects such as corporate executives, city and provincial councilors, and social workers at local social service facilities.


※ (Current) training on gender equality focuses on the public officials → (Future) it will be expanded to corporate executives, lawmakers in the city and provincial councils, and social workers working at local social service facilities. 


□ Third, to enhance social sensitivity toward violence against women,
 The government will actively support activities by victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence to disclose the incidents through private campaigns such as “#ME, TOO” or “speak out”.


 In addition, the government will continue to create a social discourse for the elimination of violence against women to explore and disseminate the practical tasks in daily life through the public-private governance such as ‘Voice for gender equality’ and the Task Force on Expanding the Culture of Gender Equality.


* The Task Force on Expanding the Culture of Gender Equality consists of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, women's organizations and NGOs, men’s organizations (Voice for gender equality), and the experts
Currently, we operate the mailbox on the women’s employment to opinions on sexual discrimination in the workplace including sexual harassment.


□ Director of the Planning and Coordination Office of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Yoon Hyo-sik expressed, “I will work hard to improve the organizational and social culture as well as laws and systems to eradicate sexual harassment and sexual violence using power and authority within the organization.”


□ Director of Employment Policy of the Ministry of Employment and Labor Lim Seo-jeong said, “The issue of sexual harassment in the workplace is the most rudimentary but urgent problem to create a workplace without gender discrimination. However, because it is very difficult to change the deeply rooted gender discrimination and practices within our society, the MOEL and MOGEF will do our best to create a safe workplace environment for women through strengthened partnership with labor-management organizations and women’s organizations.”

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