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Calling a man 'bald' at workplace is sexual harassment, UK judges rule

By NICK GARCIA Published May 14, 2022 6:27 pm

In the United Kingdom, one ought not to comment on their co-worker's state of hairlessness or compare them to Mr. Clean or Professor X.

An employment tribunal in the United Kingdom just ruled that calling a man "bald" constitutes sexual harassment.

The Guardian reported that electrician Tony Finn sued his former employer of 24 years, the West Yorkshire-based British Bung Company. Finn said he was unfairly dismissed in May 2021, while also alleging his former supervisor Jamie King of sexual harassment.

In his complaint, Finn, 64, recalled having a dispute with King at work in July 2019, calling him a "stupid old bald cunt" and made threats to "deck" him.

While Finn didn't mind the profanities or "industrial language," he took offense at the remarks about his lack of hair.

The case was heard in the city of Sheffield in the county of South Yorkshire last February and April.

The three-member tribunal, led by Judge Jonathan Brain, argued in a 43-page ruling that using the term "bald" as an insult was a “violation against the claimant’s dignity," creating an "intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment" for Finn.

"There is a connection between the word ‘bald’ on the one hand and the protected characteristic of sex on the other," read the ruling dated May 3 and published May 11.

Meanwhile, the company's lawyers had argued that women can also be bald and that it shouldn't pertain to one's sex.

The tribunal, however, said in the ruling that commenting on a man's baldness is like commenting on a woman's breasts. They argued that men can also have large breasts due to a condition called gynecomastia but since women are more prone to such remarks, there's still sexual harassment.

Moreover, the case deeply resonated with the three-member tribunal as they are bald themselves.

"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," they said.

Based on the tribunal's ruling, Finn is set to receive compensation. The amount has yet to be determined.