New measures intended to protect civil servantsThe Seoul Metropolitan Government said yesterday in a statement that starting today it will strengthen punitive measures for those who assault or verbally abuse civil servants.
Those measures will be implemented first in the 120 Dasan Call Center, the city government’s 24-hour hotline, which covers civil complaints from around Seoul, it said.
“A manual that touches upon malicious callers or visitors [to the government offices] will be made and distributed to government employees at district offices and other governmental facilities in February,” an official from the city government said.
Those who assault civil servants or counselors or damage government property can be charged without a warning, according to the statement.
A three-strike system, in which violators are warned twice before being charged the third time, will also be applied to those who verbally abuse government employees or create disturbances.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government stated that it is currently setting up a legal support team that will review the validity of charges against violators and help in making written accusations. The move follows assertions that government employees cannot handle such legal procedures, which can be complicated or time consuming. It marks the first time the local government has stepped in to assist civil servants in disputes with clients.
Similar revisions were also made to regulations regarding Dasan Call Center counselors. Those who sexually harass counselors may be charged without warning, and are subject to a maximum two-year prison sentence or a 5 million won ($4,664) fine. Those who threaten or verbally abuse call center counselors will be warned twice before being charged.
The measure comes after the city government was asked on Wednesday to help improve working conditions for call center workers.
BY AHN HYO-SEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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