Calling a man ‘bald’ is sexual harassment, a labor court has ruled after an employee complained of being called a ‘bald bastard’.
Tony Finn had worked for the West Yorkshire-based British Bung Company for almost 24 years when he was fired in May last year.
He took them to court, alleging, among other things, that he had been the victim of sexual harassment after an incident with factory supervisor Jamie King.
Mr Finn claimed that Mr King called him a “bald bastard” during a workplace brawl that nearly erupted into violence in July 2019.
Hair loss is much more common in men than women, so using it to describe someone is discrimination, a judge found.
Hair loss is much more common in men than women, so using it to describe someone is discrimination, a judge found. Stock image
Responding to a man’s baldness in the workplace is equivalent to commenting on a woman’s breast size, the finding suggests.
The ruling, made by a panel of three men who, in their verdict, complained about their own lack of hair, comes in a case between an experienced electrician and his employers at a manufacturing company.
The tribunal heard that Mr. Finn was less upset by the “Anglo-Saxon” language than by the remark about his appearance.
The allegation led the panel — chaired by Judge Jonathan Brain — to deliberate on whether noticing his baldness was simply offensive or actually intimidating.
The panel says: ‘In our view there is a connection between the word ‘bald’ on the one hand and the protected characteristic of sex on the other.
(company attorney) was right when he claimed that both women and men can be bald. However, as all three members of the Tribunal will guarantee, baldness is much more common in men than in women.
Tony Finn worked for the West Yorkshire-based British Bung Company (pictured) for nearly 24 years when he was fired in May last year.
“We think it’s inherently related to sex.”
As part of its ruling, the panel raised a previous lawsuit in which a man sexually harassed a woman over comments about the size of her breasts to refute the company’s point.
“It is much more likely that a person on the receiving end of a comment such as the one made in (that) case is a woman,” the tribunal said.
“It’s also much more likely that someone on the receiving end of a comment like Mr. King’s is male.
‘Mr King made the comment with the intent of hurting the plaintiff by commenting on his appearance which is commonly found in men.
“The Tribunal therefore finds that by referring to the plaintiff as a ‘bald bastard’… Mr King’s conduct was undesirable, a violation of the plaintiff’s dignity, it created an intimidating environment for him, it was done for that purpose, and it was related to the sex of the plaintiff.’
Mr Finn described the spat with Mr King – who is 30 years his junior – to the court in Sheffield, South Yorkshire: ‘I was working on a machine which I had to cover while awaiting repair by a specialist. The covers were taken off and it was obvious Jamie King had done this.
“When I talked to him about it, he started calling me a stupid old bald bastard and threatening to hit me up.”
Mr Finn said he was “afraid for my personal safety”.
The tribunal heard that he had subsequently written a statement about the incident involving his son Robert, who was a police officer, on official West Yorkshire Police paper.
When this was handed over to his bosses at the company – a family business that makes traditional wooden keg closures for the brewing industry – they first thought he had reported the incident as a crime.
Mr Finn told them he had no intention of making the statement resemble an official police document. However, the company accused him of intimidating them and fired him for misconduct.
The tribunal upheld his sexual harassment allegation, but ruled that the company had unfairly fired him because they fired him two business days later instead of waiting for a police report after complaining about his son’s involvement, which they said. claimed to do.
Mr. Finn won claims of unfair dismissal, unfair dismissal, being subject to prejudice and sexual harassment.
He lost an additional age discrimination claim after the tribunal ruled that King had not called him “old” but simply a “bald bastard.”
Mr Finn’s compensation will be determined at a later date. However, any benefits will be reduced after the court has ruled that his conduct contributed to his dismissal.
Source: New feed