The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward an appeal received from the Network for Global Activism in Korea about the case of a female worker who has held a sit-in struggle in front of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family for more than 150 days after being dismissed. She is demanding reinstatement and the punishment of the alleged offenders of sexual harassment in the workplace.
For more information, please contact the Network for Global Activism by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
This is a solidarity letter to support a woman worker who has been sexually harassed by her managers, and unfairly dismissed at a subcontractor of Hyundai Motor. She has been holding a sit-in struggle in front of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family from June.
We are deeply concerned about her health. But this solidarity action is not just for her but also for all those women who suffer sexual harassment at work places. And especially, for those women workers who work at subcontractors. For them it is very hard to fight against sexual harassment at the shop floor. Because the owner of subcontractors can simply fire them or cancel their labor contract, if found in trouble. And the prime contractors will never take their responsibility. Her case is very typical case to highlight such widespread and rampant practices. So this is a very important to break this wrongful practice in Korea.
Please take action to urge that the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and Hyundai Motor to take the responsibility and set out to find an answer for this problem. All those concerned authorities should be made responsible to punish offenders and to have her reinstated promptly.
Ms. Park had worked for 14 years at a factory of Hyundai Motor in Asan, Korea. She had renewed her labor contract with different subcontractors every two years. But regardless of whoever the employer was, she had worked same works in that factory. A group leader and the manager of that factory sexually harassed her from April 2009. They swore at her with unspeakable words and demanded to have sex with them over the phone. Furthermore, they touched her body and threatened her. Eventually, she told of her suffering to her colleague one day. But after this news became known to other co-workers, the employer punished her. The reason was that she tarnished the company’s image by her careless behavior. What was worse, the offender attended in the personnel committee as a member. At first, she was suspended for six months. And after the retrial, they decided to cut her wages for three months. So she petitioned the National Human Rights Commission to judge whether this case is sexual harassment or not. Then, the personnel committee dismissed her from work. She started picketing alone at the main gate of the factory. But the security guards and managers assaulted her. So she was hospitalized for four weeks. This time on, she started a sit-in struggle in the factory, but they attacked her again.
On November 2010, the subcontractor, Kumyang Logistics, reported a closure of the business. And another subcontractor, Hyungjin Company, hired all workers of Kumyang except her. She continued her struggle in front of the factory, but they attacked her whenever she set up a tent.
On the 14th of January 2011, the National Human Rights Commission reached a ruling that her case was definitely a sexual harassment and urged the employer and the offenders to compensate her for mental and physical damage. But they have ignored the judgment and take no particular action. An officer of the Ministry of Employment and Labor told they can nothing because Kumyang closed their business. And another officer of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family told they can nothing either because their business is not to seek a resolution but just to train anti-sexual violence. Hyundai Motor strongly denies that they need to take any responsibility as a prime contractor. Furthermore, Hyundai Motor distributed an official paper to the members of the National Assembly during the inspection saying that she is a divorcee and a trouble maker.
She does not retract and now keeps on her sit-in struggle in front of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family for more than 150 days.
There are many things that you can do in response to this appeal. Here are just four of them.
1. If you agree to our action, please sign up for our public statement. Send a reply to us, with your name and the name of your organization on it. Then we’ll hold a press conference in front of Hyundai Motor, backed up with the expression of your solidarity.
2. Also, you can sign and send a sample letter below or send your own letter.
(The content of this sample letter is same as our public statement.)
3. If you have a blog or other online presence, please write about this case.
4. Use a social media and networking sites to urge the punishment of offenders and reinstatement of Ms. Park back into Hyundai Motor.
For further informations, please contact the Network for Glocal Activism
Tel : +82 2 593 5910
Fax : +82 2 593 5910
E-mail : email@example.com
A PUBLIC STATEMENT (SAMPLE LETTER)
Punish the offenders of sexual harassment and reinstate Ms. Park.
We were shocked to hear the news that a woman worker has been holding a sit-in struggle for more than 150 days asking for the punishment of those offenders who sexually harassed her and reinstatement of her. We can’t understand why she was unfairly dismissed, despite being a victim of sexual harassment. And we are deeply concerned that this case has a bad effect on the women workers’ rights in Korea.
Many of women workers are sexually harassed at the work places. But it calls for great courage to expose their problem. Especially, it is even harder for those women workers who working at a subcontractor because of their precarious employment. So if a woman worker reveals her problem, the company has to protect her and solve the problem immediately. But Ms. Park was dismissed just because she made her suffering known to her colleagues. Another shocking fact is that the offender is still working at the same factory. We know that the National Human Rights Commission judged her case definitely constituted a sexual harassment and urged the employer and offenders should compensate her for damage. If they keep avoiding their responsibility, Hyundai Motor has to punish them and reinstate Ms. Park, using its position as a prime contractor. But we came across a report that Hyundai Motor distributed an official paper to condemn her not to save her.
We regret that Ms. Park has no choice but to keep her sit-in in front of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, because the ministries and companies who should take the responsibility do not come on her side, avoiding their responsibility.
We urge them as below
(when you send a letter, choose addressee and make it clear what you want to do)
To Hyundai Motors
-Apologize to her for secondary harassment, by mentioning and condemning her privacy.
-Punish offenders and reinstate Ms. Park to her work.
To Hyungjin Company
-Punish offenders and reinstate Ms. Park immediately.
To the Ministry of Employment and Labor and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
-Demand strongly to Hyundai Motors to take an action and solve this problem promptly.
-Take preventive and counter measures for women workers not to be unfairly dismissed on the account of exposing sexual harassment.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Jung Mong-gu
Chairman, Hyundai Motor Company
231, Yangjae-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea
2. Mr. Kim Sang-hoon
Chairman, Hyunjin Company
Hyundai Motor, 129, Gumsung-lee, Injoo-myun, Asan, Korea
Tel : +82 41 530 5996
Fax : +82 41 532 1954
3. Mr. Lee Chae-pil
Minister, Ministry of Employment and Labor
BD #1, Gwacheon Government Complex
47, Gwanmoon-ro, Gwacheon, Korea
Tel: +82 2 503 9700
Fax: +82 2 504 6708
4. Ms. Kim Kum-lae
Minister, Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
Premier Place BD, 8, Cheonggyecheon-ro , Joong-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel : +82 2 2075 4501
Fax : +82 2 3210 4702
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER