An English employment tribunal has ruled that calling a man “bald” is sex harassment.
Calling a man ‘bald’ is sex harassment, an employment tribunal has ruled after an employee complained about being called a ‘bald c***’.
As part of its ruling, the panel raised a previous tribunal case where a man was found to have sexually harassed 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. ‘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 c***’…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.’
Having happily gone clean – aka “skinhead” – for years back in my martial arts days, I’ve never been bothered about no longer being in possession of a luxurious full head of hair. That being said, it’s always puzzled me a little how it’s more or less considered fine to refer derisively to a man’s appearance even in professional situations while being employment suicide, if not literally criminal, to do so with regard to a woman’s.
In light of this ruling, I don’t expect that the custom of some women – and, of course, some black men – to refer negatively to the presumed size of a man’s genitalia is going to be very well-regarded going forward.
On the one hand, it’s ridiculous. On the other hand, it is a logical and even-handed application of a ridiculous standard.