The Control Yuan yesterday said it had voted to impeach former Atomic Energy Council (AEC) minister Hsieh Shou-shing (謝曉星) for sexual harassment and other misconduct, and referred his case to a disciplinary court for civil servants.
Hsieh, who had led the AEC since 2016, was dismissed from his post in January after accusations that he verbally harassed and made inappropriate physical contact with several of his female subordinates were substantiated by the Cabinet.
His case was also taken up by the Control Yuan, which is responsible for investigating and disciplining public servants and agencies.
The Control Yuan said that on July 6, it voted 13-0 to impeach Hsieh after an investigation and interviews with 40 witnesses.
Control Yuan member Yeh Ta- hua (葉大華) told a news conference yesterday that the investigation found that Hsieh had committed breaches of professional conduct in four main areas.
First, Hsieh was a bully in the workplace, frequently losing his temper and publicly berating or belittling employees in a way that harmed their dignity, and created an atmosphere of pressure and fear, Yeh said.
In terms of sex-based discrimination, the Control Yuan said that after Hsieh took office in 2016, he hired eight secretaries, mainly “tall females,” using a screening process that asked candidates about their height, blood type, marital status and plans to have children.
Hsieh’s female employees were also treated differently at work, including being required to ask in person for permission to take time off, while male employees could do so in writing, Yeh said.
Witnesses also corroborated accusations that Hsieh sexually harassed female employees, by staring at them or standing too close to them, or making comments about their looks or how they were dressed, Yeh said.
Additionally, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Taiwan, Hsieh continued his habit of eating lunch with all of his secretaries, in contravention of rules at the time limiting indoor gatherings to no more than five people, Yeh said.
The Control Yuan said it would transfer his case to a disciplinary court for government employees, which would act on his case, including ordering cuts to his pension.
The Control Yuan also ordered the AEC to take corrective measures over its lax handling of the case, which it said demonstrated a misunderstanding of the protections afforded under the Act of Gender Equality in Employment (性別工作平等法).
Yeh urged the Legislative Yuan to facilitate passage of proposed amendments approved by the Executive Yuan last year that aim to bolster protocols and penalties applicable in cases where sexual harassment is committed by people in positions of power.
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