The Korea Herald


Companies caught asking job applicants about body type, wealth and parents' job

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : March 6, 2024 - 17:47

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Sejong Government Complex (Getty Images) Sejong Government Complex (Getty Images)

South Korea's Labor Ministry said Wednesday that it found 281 cases of hiring process violations in October and November of last year, among the most common of which involved asking job applicants questions that had been deemed inappropriate.

The ministry said it reviewed employments conducted via the state-run job search website Worknet in the two months by 627 business establishments, and found that 151 of the establishments committed violations of varying degrees in hiring employees.

According to officials, the most common violations by employers were: signing an employment contract for five days-a week work and changing it to six days-a-week afterwards, keeping documents of disqualified job applicants instead of destroying them as the law demands, and asking information about applicant's marital status, family, jobs of family and even personal information.

In one case shared by the government, a manufacturer asked the applicant to input their height, weight, place of birth, marital status, wealth, and jobs of their parents and siblings.

The Article 4-3 of the Fair Procedure Act states that no potential employer shall demand from the applicant information that is unnecessary in performing the job duties, which include physical conditions of a job applicant, place of birth, marital status, and property of a job applicant or their family members.

The government said it will implement systems for Worknet to help prevent such violations in the hiring process, such as pop-up pages providing legal information about what not to do during the hiring process. This will go along with reminding the job applicants of their rights not to be asked personal information and notifying them to request that their documents to be properly destroyed if they do not get the job.

Worknet will also automatically filter any hiring notifications that have keywords related to collecting inappropriate personal information.

In addition to the overhaul of Worknet, the ministry plans to hold biannual inspections of private job search websites and help them prepare their own system to prevent illegal procedures during the hiring process.