UK – Calling men bald is sexual harassment

Calling a man bald is sexual harassment says UK tribunal

Calling a man bald is sexual harassment says UK tribunal Source: Andrea Piacquadio

A claim brought against a West-Yorkshire based company by an electrician who was fired in 2021, has resulted in an employment tribunal ruling in his favour, saying calling men at work bald, is sexual harassment.

Tony Finn, who took the British Bung Company to tribunal, complained that he was a victim of sexual harassment, due to comments made about his lack of hair. This included being called a “bald ****” by factory supervisor Jamie King during an argument in 2019.

He told the panel: “I was working on a machine that I had to cover, awaiting specialist repair. The covers were taken off, and it was apparent that Jamie King had done this.

“When I spoke to him about it, he began to call me a stupid bald **** and threatened to deck me, leaving me fearful for my personal safety.”

Giving his ruling, Judge Jonathan Brain who headed the three-person panel, said: “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.”

They added that cases have been found in favour of woman whose breasts have been commented on, something that is more likely to be directed at women than men.

“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 ****’, 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.”

At the time, Finn had written a statement about events with his policeman son, which he handed into to his bosses. They took exception to the statement, saying it was an effort to intimidate them, and as a result he was fired for misconduct.

The panel upheld the claim that calling men bald is sexual harassment, finding in the claimants favour on three accounts, sexual harassment, unfair and wrongful dismissal. The panel however did not find in his favour on a claim of age discrimination.  

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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at