‘Respect’ and ‘human rights awareness’ stamp out bullies and sexual harassment in work place

신태섭 기자l승인2019.01.14

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▲ CEO Yang Ji-yoo

In terms of GDP, Korea ranked N0.12 in the world. We all agree it is not bad at all. But when it comes to the concept of ‘developed country’, do we agree on that? It is hard to say ‘yes’ if we look at the figures in other areas. 3.5 times suicide rate of the OECD standard, 144th gender equality index out of the 188 OECD members, and prepare for the gobsmacking, the one of the bottoms in terms of social relationships. What it tells us in a nutshell is that majority of people in Korea do not seem to show respect to others, at least according to the OECD standards. Well, in fact, these figures are rather not surprising at all by just looking at the recent violence and sexual harassment by the people holding a sword by the hilt in Korea which is way beyond the line. 

Respect and human rights awareness
Yang Ji-yoo, CEO of People & Education, points out “The shocking bullies and sexual harassment revealed by the victims recently are just shocking. It is a good example of abuse of power that often grows on personal desire.” 

The issues, however, are not the problem happening today but have been there for a long time. As a preventive measure, the government is pushing forward legalizing ‘bully prevention training’ in organizations. Seeing the seriousness, companies are also willingly taking part in training on regular basis. Yet, the situation does not seem to show an improvement as the related news are pouring in day by day which make us depressed. 

“Touch laws and heavy fines cannot be the ultimate solutions. The fundamental problem is people’s lack of respect and human rights awareness. So the training must give more focus on these than what sentence or how much fine the bullies or assaulters get. It is also important to improve the Korea’s vertical organizational culture to colleague-relations” emphasizes Yang.

People & Education is here to help
People & Education is an educational company that has been promoting the importance of ‘respect’ and ‘human rights awareness’ for many years. 

“The reason there is the compulsory education course for organizations is to protect human rights of employees and their right to work. It is not easy for employees to fight against the management. What People & Education does is to train them how to make their voice and protect their rights. Good relationships between the employees and employer can significantly increase competitiveness of the company as a whole.”

A survey carried out on women workers by the Human Rights Movement Network last December shows that 70% of them have experienced sexual harassment or violence in their work place; and 76% answered “because it will be useless or I might get a disadvantage if file a complaint or law suit”; they also pointed out the secondary damages as a reason for this. 

“The secondary damages sometimes become more serious through being ostracized or left out from primary duties in the work place. It is also difficult for the case to be recognized as industrial accidents on which they can get compensations.”

Obscure guidelines
The Equal Employment Opportunity and Work Family Balance Assistance Act, Article 2 states about ‘sexual harassment’ rather obscurely: the superiors in the work place abuses their power to humiliate inferiors verbally and in action with sexually offending words or actions, and give disadvantages when their requests are not answered accordingly. 

“What we need here is the testimonies of the abuser and the victim, status of the abuser and the victim and the third party’s objective testimony to decide whether it is in the category of sexual harassment. It also needs to be approached on the human rights point of view rather than confrontation between men and women or abusers and victims.” 

Fostering talented industry specialists
“It is time that we needed to introduce specialist instructors for prevention of sexual harassment and violence, verbal abuse and bullies because the demands are pouring in from many organizations nowadays. The society is changing and the changing needs specialists.”

In order to secure a place of the 100 hour course of People & Education, you must prove yourself that you have a strong sense of human rights. 

“A good instructor is not someone who has skillful mouth but someone who trains well. A good instructor also is required to have critical thinking and keen eye on social issues. Instructors are not someone who sell their educational products but delivering the importance of what they are instructing.” 

The excellence of People & Education has been well recognized by companies and organizations big or small and CEO Yang especially is famous for free training if the trainees are small businesses, social enterprises and welfare centers and charity organizations. 

“I hope that People & Education takes part in creating a better society, equal society and harmonious society and I’m always ready to give my utmost effort and support for this” says Yang. 


신태섭 기자  tss79@naver.com
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