Professor Found Guilty of Sexual Harassment In Landmark South Korean Ruling
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ In South Korea’s first sex harassment lawsuit, a college professor was found guilty of making advances on his assistant and was ordered to pay her the equivalent of $37,000 in damages.
Prof. Shin of Seoul National University was found guilty of sexually harassing an assistant professor identified as Miss Woo by hugging her from behind and demanding they spend time together after work.
Miss Woo sued for $62,000 last November, claiming she was fired when she resisted his advances.
″It is possible that the refusal to allow sexual advances led to her dismissal,″ said Judge Park Chang-woo in handing down the decision today.
Shin said he would appeal.
The suit was brought in Seoul Civil Court rather than a criminal court because until this year, South Korean law did not cover sexual harassment.
The case attracted wide attention. Women students boycotted Shin’s lectures, and women’s rights groups came to Woo’s defense. South Korean women’s groups lauded the decision, saying it would encourage more victimized women to come forward.
A survey conducted last year by a women’s rights association found that up to 80 percent of working women experienced sexual harassment at work.
Increasing numbers of South Korean women have been getting jobs despite resistance to women in the workplace.