South Korea is cracking down on workplace bullying and intimidation. The country has recently passed a law that can land workplace bullies in prison for up to three years. The bullies may also be subject to a fine of up to $25,000.
South Korea’s new anti-bullying law at work is broad. It does not simply involve physical abuse or verbal abuse. The new workplace law cracks down on gossiping about co-workers, ignoring employees, and even giving workers too much work than they can reasonably handle.
The National Human Rights Commission says that 12% of Korean employees experience some form of workplace bullying at work every single day. Two-thirds of employees, meanwhile, say they have experienced bullying at some point in their working life.
South Korea suffers a problem in that many people do not report harassment and bullying that occurs at work. The reason for this is a lack of legal protection for employees that speak out against abuse. South Korea also has many large family-run conglomerates that have immense power and influence in the country. Speaking out against some of these powerful leaders is a daunting task. Another problem with workplace bullying is that a lot of employers refuse even to acknowledge that this is occurring at their workplaces.
Social media is helping to bring the issue of workplace bullying and harassment to the forefront. Abused employees now have the ability to record incidents at work and post it on social media for all the world to see. This can help bring workplace bullying incidents to light and force companies to have to deal with them. A few cases of employee harassment posted on social media have already gone viral on social media in South Korea.
The new South Korean anti-bullying law in the workplace also provides some much-needed protection for workers reporting abuse at work. Employers can no longer fire or take retaliatory measures against an employee that reports workplace bullying. This should help encourage employees to step up and report the harassment they are facing. Victims of workplace bullying are also entitled to seek damages in the form of compensation for suffering abuse in the workplace.
A South Korean newspaper reports that workplace bullying and abuse can cost the country up to 4 billion dollars in lost productivity, low morale, sickness, and health care treatment. Bullying at work is also strongly connected to anxiety, depression, and low morale at work. If the new law is effective, then it can eliminate workplace bullying as well as improve the Korean economy.