Labor Ministry officials on Friday again raided the headquarters of E-Mart Co. as they broadened their investigation into allegations the country’s biggest discount chain operator illegally monitored its employees to prevent them from joining a union.
The Ministry of Employment and Labor has been looking into suspicions that the retail giant systemically attempted to undermine the organization of the union, such as by illegally using workers’ resident registration numbers to check if they had joined the union.
The second raid comes roughly two weeks after ministry officials raided the company’s headquarters in eastern Seoul and 13 stores nationwide to seize a wide range of documents.
“An additional raid was launched to secure the relevant evidence as it was clear that E-mart systemically tried to destroy evidence such as getting rid of computerized data and documents,” a ministry official said.
The allegations involving the discount chain operator of South Korea’s No. 2 retailer Shinsegae Group were first divulged last month. Rep. Jang Ha-na of the main opposition Democratic United Party claimed that the retailer spied on workers under guidelines designed and delivered by its parent company.
Civic groups soon lodged accusations against the firm with the ministry and the prosecution, arguing that the firm has carried out the illegal surveillance in violation of the Personal Information Protection Act. Yonhap News)