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Am J Ind Med. 2014 Jan;57(1):87-96. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22233. Epub 2013 Aug 22.

Workplace injustice and self-reported disease and absenteeism in South Korea.

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Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



This study investigated whether experience of workplace injustice was associated with self-reported occupational health using a nationally representative sample of Korean workers.


We used the first wave of the Korean Working Conditions Survey (KWCS) and included 7,007 wage employees as the study population. Workplace injustice included the experience of discrimination, violence, or harassment, and occupational health was measured as self-reported health problems and absenteeism. Personal, occupational, and job-related characteristics were included as covariates.


An average of 7.2% of workers reported experiencing at least one workplace injustice over the past 12 months. Female workers were significantly more likely to experience age and gender discrimination, and unwanted sexual attention than male workers. Both male and female workers who experienced any workplace injustice (i.e., discrimination, harassment, or violence) reported approximately two- to threefold increased risk for physical and mental health problems (i.e., backaches, muscular pain, stomach pain, overall fatigue, headaches, anxiety/depression, sleeping problems, and injury) and absenteeism due to accidents or due to health problems.


Perceived injustice at work was significantly associated with an increased risk of occupational disease and absenteeism for Korean wage employees.


absenteeism; discrimination; harassment; occupational disease; violence

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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