The number of disciplinary actions taken by public corporations in South Korea against their employees increased by more than 20 percent over the past two years, according to a local corporate tracker on Sunday.
According to a survey conducted by CEOScore, the total number of employees who faced disciplinary action at 36 public companies in 2019 was 705, a 21.6 percent increase from 580 cases reported in 2017.
But the penalties imposed were less serious, with only 50 people facing dismissal last year as compared to 56 in 2017. In contrast, the number of employees facing reprimands -- the lowest level of punishment -- increased from 256 to 340. The number of other penalties -- wage cuts, suspensions and demotions -- rose from 268 to 315.
Reprimands accounted for 47.2 percent of all punishments handed out, followed by pay cuts (30.1 percent), suspensions (13.8 percent) and dismissals (4.4 percent).
The number of cases in which state-run companies filed complaints with police or the prosecution after taking disciplinary action is also on the decline. There were 26 such cases in 2017, 20 in 2018 and six last year.
Among causes for disciplinary action, increasing the most was violation of duty of good faith, with such cases increasing from 364 in 2017 to 541 last year. Cases of violations of dignity -- which includes sexual assault, sexual harassment and common assault between employees -- increased from 67 to 75.
Fifteen sex-related cases and 17 cases of drunken driving were reported from 2017 to 2019. None resulted in criminal charges.
Of all the nation’s public agencies, the Korea Railroad Corp. took the greatest number of disciplinary measures last year, at 157. The number had dropped sharply from 118 in 2017 to 80 in 2018, but then nearly doubled last year.
It was followed by the Korea Electric Power Corp. with 149 cases, Kepco KPS with 64 cases, the Korea Water Resources Corp. with 52 cases and the Korea Land and Housing Corp. with 35 cases.
Five agencies took no disciplinary actions last year: the Korea National Oil Corporation, Korea Housing & Urban Guarantee Corporation, Korea Resources Corporation, Busan Port Authority and Ulsan Port Authority.
By Shin Ji-hye (email@example.com