Boss ordered to compensate worker he pressured to date colleague
A department head at a large company who recommended a female subordinate go on a date with a male employee was found guilty of sexual harassment and ordered to compensate the victim, news reports said Monday, quoting the court order.
The ruling by the Seoul Central District Court was upholding a lower court’s decision that ordered the department head to pay 3 million won ($2,265) to the victim.
The incident occurred in 2021, when the woman had lunch with three of her bosses, including the department head.
As she told her boss where she lived, he then suggested to meet a single man from another department of the company who is 20 years older than her.
He also said the two would get along well as she said she liked chicken, saying they shared same food preferences. She refused the offer but her boss kept prodding, saying that the man from another department has “a lot of money.”
As news of the situation spread within the company, the management separated the two and placed the department head on probation for three days. The female employee then filed a compensation suit for damages against her boss that she had to receive psychiatric treatments and take a leave of absence.
The appeals court also found the head guilty of using inappropriate language that caused her to feel sexually humiliated, in violation of the Equal Employment Act.
“Considering the situation that the conversation was not made in a completely equal relationship, and other employees were also present at the time, it can be assumed that the plaintiff must have felt sexually humiliated. The defendant’s remarks can be regarded by the plaintiff as sexual harassment,” the court ruled.
The head claimed that the remarks were just jokes about the old bachelor colleague, not sexual remarks. But the court did not accept his claim.
“According to the Equal Employment Act, sexual humiliation or repulsion is also defined as an example of sexual harassment judgment criteria,” the court said.