SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of people who claim they experienced “gabjil” at their jobs neared the 9,000 mark in October, amid growing public condemnation against high-handedness at workplaces, a local employment information site said Sunday.
Gabjil refers to bullying and sometimes violence by a person of power against someone or an entity in a weaker position. The word derives from a contract term to describe a leading party in a deal.
Jobplanet said the allegation of abuse and unfair treatment by superiors that were posted on its corporate review page stood at 8,945. This is a 47.3 percent increase from 6,073 lodged for the whole of last year.
It said numbers stayed above 3,000 for the second and third quarters, respectively, but since there is usually a spike in grievances in the last three months of most years, there is a good chance that the total will surpass the 10,000 mark by year’s end.
The job search provider then said the number of companies accused of engaging in gabjil or allowing its people to abuse others has been rising from 3,570 in 2016 to 3,951 in 2017 and 5,694 in 2018.
It said 56.53 percent of complaints posted on its reviews characterized the gabjil they experienced as slavery and subservience, while 23 percent complaining about verbal abuse. A smaller 10.87 percent claimed they were physical abused, while the percentage of bullying that were linked to sexual harassment reached 13.39 percent.
By size of company, 55.86 percent of allegations came from those in small and medium-sized enterprises, with 34.25 from big companies. Corresponding numbers for foreign-run firms stood at just 0.3 percent.
The employment information firm then said people in sales were most at risk of experiencing gabjil firsthand at 21.02 percent, with managerial posts and support fields coming in second at 17.35 percent followed by 15.64 percent for those in production.
Related to the increase, a source at Jobplanet said the rise in numbers is probably more to do with people coming out into the open with such abuses compared with the past, especially after big companies, such as Korean Air, took considerable flak for the misbehavior of a top executive.
Hanssem, one of the country’s leading furniture companies, was embroiled in a series of sexual misconduct allegations involving male employees against their female colleagues.