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Workplace harassment at NongHyup branch found to be true

Workplace harassment at NongHyup branch found to be true

Posted April. 17, 2023 07:58,   

Updated April. 17, 2023 07:58


Many of the claims made by a 30-something employee of NongHyup Bank’s branch in Jangsu, North Jeolla Province, who committed suicide, and his bereaved family that his superior had harassed him and would demand gifts has been found to be true. This has been revealed in a special investigation by the Labor and Employment Ministry into the case in which the employee killed himself.

The ministry’s Jeonju district office conducted a special labor investigation into Jangsu NongHyup on January 27 – April 7 to find a total of 15 violations of regulations under the labor relations act were committed. As a result, the district office said Sunday that it has filed criminal suits against perpetrators and imposed an administrative fine of 67 million won (51,000 US dollars). The office has sought disciplinary actions against four perpetrators and the bank branch’s certified labor attorney who violated the relevant law.

According to the ministry, the employee (33) of the Jangsu branch committed suicide near the bank branch on January 12. The employee’s bereaved family claimed that he had been harassed at the workplace by his superior before his death. The family filed a complaint about the violations only to face retaliations, including an order to conduct unjustifiable business activities or write a report on the reason for filing the complaint. The employee had been married for only three months when he killed himself.

The special labor investigation has revealed that one of his superiors constantly insulted and ridiculed him. When the late employee demanded to change the weekend shift, the superior even demanded the former visit Noryangjin Fisheries Market in Seoul to buy him king crabs worth 275,000 won (210 dollars) as a gift.

The employee filed a complaint with the employer, NongHyup Bank’s Jangsu branch, but the bank branch appointed him to a position in another department and seated him at a desk with a PC with no internet connection. The branch also hired a certified labor attorney who was one of the superior’s acquaintances and let the attorney reveal the victim’s testimonies to bring the case to a conclusion that it did not constitute workplace harassment.

The ministry also said it found through the investigation that the bank branch failed to pay overtime pay to employees who came to the office earlier than regular business hours to force employees into ‘working free of charge,' which would be worth more than 400 million won (300,000 dollars) in total, and violated 293 times the maximum weekly overtime of 12 hours.

Mee-Jee Lee image@donga.com