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Insulting male baldness is sexist, rules U.K. judge

A three-judge employment tribunal in Sheffield, England, ruled that insulting men about their baldness in the workplace constitutes sexist harassment, with one judge citing his own experience with hair loss

The U.K. employment tribunal ruled that insulting male baldness is sexist
The U.K. employment tribunal ruled that insulting male baldness is sexist | Shutterstock

May 13, 2022 2:31pm

Updated: May 13, 2022 2:31pm

A three-judge employment tribunal in Sheffield, England, ruled that insulting men about their baldness in the workplace constitutes sexist harassment, with one judge citing his own experience with hair loss.

Electrician Tony Finn claimed that his factory supervisor, Jamie King, calling him a “bald cunt” constituted sexism because men were more likely to go bald, reports The Times of London. The two worked at the British Bung Company, which manufactures accessories used in brewing.

“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,” Finn testified.

“When I spoke to him about it, he began to call me a stupid, old, bald cunt and threatened to deck me.”

The company fired Finn for intimidation after he approached them with a document about the incident written with the help of his son, a police officer, believing he had filed a police report.

Lawyers for the firm argued the comment was not sexist because both men and woman can be bald.

Judge Jonathan Brain, a member of the panel, dismissed this line of argument and referred to his own experience of going bald.

“As all three members of the tribunal will vouchsafe, baldness is much more prevalent in men than women,” Brain said.

The tribunal ruled that there were a connection between baldness and sex, which is protected under anti-discrimination laws. They compared insulating a man about his baldness to remarking on a woman’s breasts.

“It is much more likely that a person on the receiving end of a comment such as that . . . would be female,” Brain 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.”

The panel backed Finn’s claims of unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, being subjected to detriments and sex harassment, reports the Times. However, he lost a claim for age discrimination after the tribunal ruled that King had simply called him “bald” and not “old.”