Calling a man ‘bald’ now counts as sex harassment, after an employee took his former employer to court for comments made about his lack of hair.
Tony Finn had complained about being called a ‘bald c*** during his time at West Yorkshire-based British Bung Company. He worked as an electrician at the firm for 24 years before he was fired last May (for submitting an article about his experience to an official West Yorkshire Police paper, no less).
Finn claimed he had been a victim of sex harassment after supervisor Jamie King had referred to him as a ‘bald c*** during a heated debate in July 2019. As hair loss is far more common among men than women, the insult counted as a form of discrimination, according to the judge.
The panel – led by Judge Jonathan Brain – had been tasked with deciding if calling someone ‘bald’ amounted to a simple insult or harassment. Here’s what they said in their ruling:
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 company’s lawyer] was right to submit that women as well as men may be bald. However, as all three members of the tribunal will vouchsafe, baldness is much more prevalent in men than women.
We find it to be inherently related to sex.
Sure enough, if you google ‘Judge Jonathan Brain’, you get a bald judge…
The judge also drew parellels to a previous case where a man was found to have sexually harassed a woman by commenting on the size of her breasts:
‘It is much more likely that a person on the receiving end of a comment such as that which was made in (that) case would be female.
So too, it is much more likely that a person on the receiving end of a remark such as that made by Mr King would be male.
Mr King made the remark with a view to hurting the claimant by commenting on his appearance which is often found amongst men.
The tribunal therefore determines that by referring to the claimant as a ‘bald c***’…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.’
When you put it that way, I guess he’s got a point. Although I can’t help but feel some decent banter opportunities will be lost with this ruling. What, can’t you call a bald person a hard-boiled egg anymore?
Mr Finn won claims of unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, being subjected to detriments and sex harassment. His compensation will be determined at a later date. What a W for the baldies!
If only Will Smith was there to defend his honour?