The Korea Herald


Government introduces measures to protect workers in service sector

By Claire Lee

Published : Oct. 18, 2018 - 16:13

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Employers in the service and retail sectors who fail to take action after their workers are harassed or assaulted by customers can be fined as much as 10 million won ($8,817) starting Thursday, the Ministry of Labor said.

Under the revised law, employers are required to grant breaks to employees who have been subjected either to verbal harassment or physical assault by customers at work, and to finance medical treatment and counseling if necessary.

The law also requires employers to submit all available evidence, such as surveillance camera footage, to the court should their workers want to take legal action against the customer. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to 10 million won, the ministry added.

Unionized workers in the service sector hold a rally in Seoul. (Yonhap) Unionized workers in the service sector hold a rally in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Research has shown that workers in the nation’s service and retail sectors, which often require emotional labor, are vulnerable to verbal harassment and physical assault from customers and clients. These workers include, among others, flight attendants, department store clerks, call center agents and staff members at hotels and resorts.

According to a recent study by the Korea Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health, 87 percent of South Korean workers whose jobs require emotional labor have been verbally harassed by customers while at work.  (