Calling a man 'bald' is sex-related harassment
Posted on 6th June 2022 at 13:51
Calling a man ‘bald’ is sex-related harassment, employment tribunal rules. Thoughts? Tony Finn, who worked at West Yorkshire manufacturing firm for 24 years, is in line for compensation.
Hair loss is much more prevalent among men than women so using it to describe someone is a form of sex-related harassment, a judgment has concluded. Commenting on a man’s baldness in the workplace is equivalent to remarking on the size of a woman’s breasts, the finding suggests.
The ruling – made by a panel of three men who in making their judgment bemoaned their own lack of hair – comes in a case between a veteran electrician and the manufacturing firm where he was employed.
Could this hearing have been heard by a more female represented jury?
The tribunal heard that there had also been use of foul language in an argument where Finn had been called ‘bald’ but had not complained about the use of “industrial language”. He was however particularly affronted at being called bald, the panel said.
The company’s lawyer submitted 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 and therefore found it to be “inherently related to sex”.
As part of its ruling, the panel raised a previous tribunal case where a man was found to have sexually discriminated against a woman by remarking on the size of her breasts to rebut the firm’s point. “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.
Is the word ‘banter’ (not used here but possibly disliked by most of the #hr community) increasingly costing businesses money? Have you got your ‘banter culture’ right at your organisation?
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