An amendment to the Equal Employment Opportunity and Work-Family Balance Assistance Act (the “Act”) introducing procedures for relief with the Labor Relations Commission (the “LRC”) regarding sexual discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace was passed at a cabinet meeting on October 20, 2020.
Currently, in the event of sexual discrimination/sexual harassment in the workplace, the Act only provides penalties for failure to take any corrective action. In addition, the Act does not provide any means/recourse for employees to request corrective measures.
Under the proposed relief procedures, we note that, if sexual discrimination/sexual harassment takes place in the workplace and an employer fails to comply with its obligations under the Act with respect to the victim (employee), etc., victims would be able to file a claim with the LRC for corrective measures to be imposed. In such a case, the employer would bear the burden of proof.
Accordingly, if the LRC recognizes that sexual discrimination has taken place in the workplace, it may issue a corrective order on the employer to cease such discriminatory acts, amend its working terms and conditions under the Rules of Employment, Collective Bargaining Agreement, etc., and award appropriate compensation (within the amount of three times the amount of damages). These orders may also be effective with respect to other employees who were subject to such discrimination.
In addition, the proposed amendment provides that in case of an employer’s failure to comply with its obligation to take the appropriate measures for employees who are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, or if it is recognized that such employees were treated disadvantageously, the employees concerned may be entitled to relief under corrective orders such as discontinuation of disadvantageous treatment, compensation, etc.
If an employer fails to comply with a finalized corrective order, this may result in an administrative fine.
If the above amendment is submitted to the National Assembly this month, or shortly thereafter, and passes, it will be effective one year after the date of promulgation.