Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers Hung Sun-han (洪申翰) and Fan Yun (范雲) yesterday urged the Ministry of Labor to review gender equality laws to protect workers, following a sexual harassment scandal at a chocolate company.
At a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, the lawmakers called for amending the Gender Equality in Employment Act (性別工作平等法).
The amendment highlights a case in which former Fu Wan Chocolate president Hsu Feng-chia (許峰嘉) in 2015 was sentenced to six months in prison, which was commuted to a fine.
The issue was brought to light again after an Internet user last month posted about the case on the Dcard forum, resulting in other people announcing they would boycott Fu Wan Chocolate.
Hung said yesterday that the existing act does not stipulate the process for investigating an employer as the perpetrator in a case, adding that the act leads to that employer also being the judge, jury and executioner, which discourages victims from filing complaints “through the system.”
The amendment would address the issue by allowing victims to appeal to local authorities when an employer or company manager is the harasser, Hung said.
If the charges are substantiated, the accused would face a fine of up to NT$1 million, Hung added.
The amendment is waiting to be reviewed by the Legislative Yuan’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, he said.
Fan said that Fu Wan Chocolate is the first instance of a company’s products being boycotted due to a sexual harassment case.
The public has different expectations for companies, Fan added.
The Fu Wan Chocolate incident, along with the 2018 Google employee walkouts due to the Internet company’s handling of sexual harassment cases, demonstrates that sexual harassment is an important issue, National Taipei University law professor Kuo Ling-hwei (郭玲惠) told reporters.
Later yesterday, the ministry responded by saying that the act has its current wording because it also applies to military personnel, civil servants and educators.
Panels of experts and local labor office officials would be convened to discuss what changes should be made, the ministry added.
[Taipei Times, 2020-12-11]