British employment tribunal recently noted that calling a man bald is sexual harassment. The observation was made by a panel of three members who bemoaned their own hair loss problems.
Commenting on a man’s baldness in the workplace is equivalent to remarking on the size of a woman’s breasts, the panel noted.
It was also concluded that hair loss is much more prevalent among men than women so using it to describe someone is a form of discrimination.
The case was related to an electrician and a manufacturing firm. Tonny Finn worked for the West Yorkshire-based British Bung Company for almost 24 years. He was fired in May 2021. He had accused factory supervisor Jamie King of sexual harassment.
Finn stated that King called him “bald cunt” during a shopfloor row in July 2019. He was more disappointed by the comments on appearance in comparison to Anglo-Saxon language.
The panel noted, “We have little doubt that being referred to in this pejorative manner was unwanted conduct as far as [Finn] was concerned. This is strong language. Although, as we find, industrial language was commonplace on this West Yorkshire factory floor, in our judgment Mr King crossed the line by making remarks personal to the claimant about his appearance.”
The panel added that Finn had not complained about the use of “industrial language” but was particularly affronted at being called bald.”
“It is difficult to conclude other than that Mr. King uttered those words with the purpose of violating the victim’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him. Of his own admission, Mr. King’s intention was to threaten and to insult him. In our judgment, there is a connection between the word ‘bald’ on the one hand and the protected characteristic of sex on the other,” the judgment reads.
The panel agreed with the firm’s lawyer that men as well as women can be bald. Simultaneously mentioned that baldness is more common in men.
“The tribunal, therefore, determines that by referring to the claimant as a ‘bald cunt’. Mr. King’s conduct was unwanted, it was a violation of the claimant’s dignity, it created an intimidating environment for him, it was done for that purpose, and it related to the claimant’s sex,” the panel observed.
The compensation in the case will be decided on the next date of the hearing.