Calling men ‘bald’ as is sexual harassment, West Yorkshire tribunal rules

A man in West Yorkshire is to receive compensation for sexual harassment after being called a ‘bald c*nt”

Calling men ‘bald’ as an insult in the workplace qualifies as sexual harassment, a tribunal has ruled.

The decision, made – perhaps unsurprisingly – by an all-male panel, concluded that commenting on a man’s baldness could be considered equivalent to making remarks on the size of a woman’s breasts.

What’s more, the three men all reportedly bemoaned their own lack of hair whilst making their decision – justifying it on the basis that hair loss is more prevalent in men than women.

Image: Flickr

Thanks to the decision Tony Finn, who worked for the West Yorkshire-based British Bung Company for nearly 24 years, is now in line for a payout.

Veteran electrician Mr Finn took his bosses to court after being fired in May last year, claiming – amongst other things – that he had been the victim of sexual harassment after a supervisor referred to him as a ‘bald c*nt”.

Finn’s representatives told the tribunal that he was more upset by the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ language than the bald comment itself, yet the panel still decided to deliberate on the baldness aspect.

“We have little doubt that being referred to in this pejorative manner was unwanted conduct as far as [Finn] was concerned,” the tribunal found.

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“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.”

“It is difficult to conclude other than that Mr King uttered those words with the purpose of violating [Finn’s] dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him,” the judgment found.

“Of his own admission, Mr King’s intention was to threaten [Finn] 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 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.”

The panel, as part of its judgment, raised a previous case in which a man had been found to have sexually harassed a woman by commenting on the size of her woman’s 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,” the tribunal said.

“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.

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“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.”

Mr Finn is yet to receive a payout and the amount of compensation that will be given outhas not yet been confirmed.

Feature image – Wikimedia Commons

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