An employment appeal tribunal has upheld a ruling that calling a man bald is sex related harassment. Electrician, Tony Finn, brought the case against his employer, British Bung Company, claiming he had been labelled a “bald c***” by factory supervisor Jamie King during an argument in 2019.

Mr Finn claimed that the comment was sexual harassment because his being bald was directly tied to being a man as men are more likely to experience baldness than women.

Mr Finn won his claim in 2021 and now the EAT has upheld this decision, ruling that insulting a man for being bald does count as sex-related harassment.

Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula, says this ruling is an important reminder that any comments, jokes, or actions displayed at work that humiliate or offend someone will likely be classed as bullying.

“The key point before the Employment Appeals Tribunal was whether the original tribunal had interpreted anti-discrimination law too broadly by ruling that a man was more likely to be bald than a woman.

“Judges upheld the original tribunal finding, recognising that while women can be bald either because of a medical condition or by choice, men are much more likely to be bald and therefore on the receiving end of remarks about it.

“This decision is now rooted in case law, and the judgement should serve as a reminder of the impact that remarks about a person’s physical appearance can have.

“Cases like this also reinforce the need for employers to have clear standards of behaviour to protect themselves against tribunal claims.

“Clear policies and a zero-tolerance stance on workplace bullying, harassment, and discrimination and protect your organisations.

“Every workplace needs to effectively communicate these policies and standards to the workforce through regular staff training and a culture of professionalism and mutual respect.”