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3 of 10 Koreans have experienced workplace bullying: survey

Nov. 21, 2018 - 17:56 By Choi Ji-won
Three out of 10 South Korean laborers have experienced sustained abuse at work, according to a survey conducted by a nationwide network of labor unions.

In revealing the results at a press conference outside the National Assembly, the network of unions urged legal action to prevent workplace bullying.

Labor activists protest in front of the National Assembly on Wednesday, demanding changes to the Labor Standards Act to address workplace bullying. (Yonhap)

In the survey, which involved 1,078 adult employees across the nation, 300 respondents said they had been subjected to abuse by their colleagues or superiors. The network borrowed a survey format on negative experiences developed by the University of Bergen in Norway. Respondents were categorized as “bullied” if they said they had suffered any one of 22 negative experiences at work more than once a week for over six consecutive months.

According to the survey, the most common forms of workplace abuse were being the target of negative rumors, being subjected to insults about personal issues, having opinions unfairly disregarded, and being prevented from exercising labor rights guaranteed by law.

“Workplace harassment, such as the recent (case of) IT entrepreneur Yang Jin-ho and the ‘Korean Air nut rage’ incident, has continued,” the network said during the press briefing. “The opposition party should stop representing the companies and pass the workplace abuse prevention bill.”

The bill, an amendment to the Labor Standards Act, has been stalled in the National Assembly since September after some opposition party members voted against it, saying terms such as “emotional distress” and “workspace boundaries” were ambiguous. The Korean legal system currently has no law specifically addressing workplace bullying.

By Choi Ji-won  (