The Korea Herald


Court upholds police officer's suspension for 'barmaid' comment

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Dec. 5, 2023 - 12:38

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This photo is not directly related to this article. (123rf) This photo is not directly related to this article. (123rf)

The Chuncheon District Court on Tuesday ruled that Gangwon Police were justified in a recent decision to suspend an official for comparing his female subordinate to a barmaid.

The plaintiff, who had been serving as the unit leader at a police office in Gangwon Province, had told the subordinate that "local bars would have far more customers if someone like you worked there" in 2021. He also alluded to sexually suggestive lyrics from a song and boasted to her about seeing an exposed female body during a body search, on a separate occasion.

The Gangwon Provincial Police Agency slapped a one-month suspension of duty on the police officer, who filed charges against the agency. He claimed his comments were merely in answer to the female official's questions, and were not sexual.

In the verdict, however, the court said that his comments could be seen as sexual harassment and the agency's punishment had been lawful.

Government data showed that over 1 in 5 civil servants punished for sexual violence in the past five years were police officials.

From 2018 to 2022, 261 officials of the National Police Agency were punished for sex-related violence. This accounted for 22.6 percent of those found guilty of such an offense across all branches of the government, according to numbers from the Ministry of Personnel Management revealed in September by Rep. Kim Yong-pan of the ruling People Power Party.