Samsung sues government over disclosure of reports on working conditions in chip fabs
Samsung Electronics has filed an administrative lawsuit against the Ministry of Employment and Labor to stop it from disclosing reports of working conditions at Samsung’s major semiconductor fabrication complexes in Giheung, Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek in Gyeonggi Province, according to the company on Thursday.
The world’s largest memory chip provider said it filed the suit with Suwon District Court on Monday and claimed an administrative appeal with the Central Administrative Appeals Commission to nullify the ministry’s decision to reveal to the public the results of the government’s assessments of the work environment at Samsung’s semiconductor plants upon petitions made by a local cable news channel and related civil activists.
Such reports are required to be submitted regularly to the ministry as part of government-level management of safety for industries that use chemicals, which includes the semiconductor and display sectors.
Samsung’s reports include layouts of the company’s chip plants, which it says would reveal confidential equipment, facilities and materials.
Under the current Information Disclosure Act, the government must seek the opinion of Samsung when it receives a petition from an applicant that demands the company open the information.
The government should also make a final decision on whether to disclose the information or not through deliberation by independent experts.
The Employment Ministry said the reports include safety and health information of workers that should be accessible by the public in order to make it easier for workers to prove illnesses or conditions caused by industrial accidents.
The announcement was made after Daejeon District Court ruled in February that Samsung must reveal the work conditions of its plant in Asan, South Chungcheong Province.
A former Samsung worker diagnosed with leukemia died in 2014. The victim’s family made the claim to gain access to the reports.
Samsung says that revealing the reports is an act of infringement on its trade secrets, especially at a critical time when China is strategically promoting its semiconductor industry.
“The semiconductor production areas are designated by the government as restricted areas for national core technologies, whose security is overseen by the National Intelligence Service,” said a Samsung official. “The purpose of filing the lawsuit is to prevent reckless exposure of key technologies and trade secrets.”
By Song Su-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)