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Korean National Assembly Passes “Blind Hiring” Bill to Reform Hiring Culture

May 2019 - Employment . Legal Developments by Lee & Ko .

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Recently, the National Assembly of Korea passed legislative amendments to the Fair Recruitment Procedure Act (“FRPA”) as part of the reform efforts to address the country’s recruitment culture. The latest amendment – dubbed the “blind hiring” bill – expands the FRPA to prohibit any type of recruitment irregularities (e.g., improper solicitation, coercion, pressure) and, more importantly, bars employers from asking jobseekers to provide any information unrelated to the position and the applicant’s merit. The amended FRPA will go into effect starting July 17, 2019.

Summary of the Legislative Amendment

The “blind hiring” bill prohibits employers with thirty (30) or more employees from (i) requesting job applicants' personal information unrelated to the position, and (ii) engaging in any recruitment irregularities, including any lobbying, coercion or undue pressure.

Key Provisions

Penalty

Prohibition against Recruitment Irregularities

No person may engage in any of the following acts that may infringe upon the fairness of recruitment process:

  • Any lobbying, coercion or undue pressure in connection with recruitment practices
  • Receiving or offering any pecuniary value, gift or entertainment in connection with recruitment practices
  • Administrative fine up to KRW 30 million (approx. USD 30,000)

Prohibition against Request for Personal Information

Employers may not request or collect any of the following information unrelated to the performance of the job:

  • Applicant’s physical attributes (i.e., appearance, weight, height)
  • Applicant’s hometown, marital status, assets
  • School affiliation, occupation and assets of the applicant’s siblings and immediate family members

• Administrative fine up to KRW 5 million (approx. USD 5,000)

Potential Impact on Your Business

In light of the growing government scrutiny, businesses in Korea are strongly advised to review their recruitment policy and assess its compliance with the upcoming change in regulatory landscape. Specifically, we encourage companies to:

  • Examine the past recruitment history to identify any case(s) of recruitment irregularities;
  • Review and revise the company’s code of ethics and/or employment rules currently in place to ensure fair and non-discriminatory hiring;
  • Eliminate any request or attempt to collect information unrelated to the position or the applicant’s merit from all documentation/forms used in the recruitment process. Examples of “information unrelated to the position” include, without limitation: (i) physical appearance, marital status, hometown or assets of the applicant and (ii) school affiliation, occupation and assets of the applicant’s family members.

Lee & Ko boasts a successful track record in handling disputes arising out of recruitment irregularities and hiring practices. With extensive experience in this area of practice, we have consistently delivered practical solutions tailored to the needs of each client. Should you need any assistance in this area of law, please do not hesitate to contact Lee & Ko.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact below:

Sang Hoon LEE (sanghoon.lee@leeko.com)

Chang Soo JIN (changsoo.jin@leeko.com)

Hyunseok SONG (hyunseok.song@leeko.com)

William KIM (william.kim@leeko.com)

For more information, please visit our website: www.leeko.com