Man called a 'bald c***' by work supervisor was sexually harassed, tribunal rules

A tribunal has ruled that the comments made to Tony Finn were "unwanted" and "created an intimidating environment"

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An electrician was sexually harassed when a supervisor called him a “bald c***” an employment tribunal has ruled.

Tony Finn was working for the British Bung Company, in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, when he clashed with factory supervisor Jamie King three years ago, a tribunal heard earlier this month.

A judgment published this week said that Mr King used the phrase “bald c***” and this “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.”

Employment Judge Jonathan Brain said in his ruling: “We have little doubt that being referred to in this pejorative manner was unwanted conduct as far as the claimant was concerned.

A stock image of a bald man
A stock image of a bald man

“This is strong language.

“Although, as we find, industrial language was commonplace on this West Yorkshire factory floor, in our judgment Mr King crossed the line by making remarks personal to the claimant about his appearance.”

He 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 judge said a barrister representing the company was right to submit that women as well as men may be bald.

But he appeared to refer to his own barber-shop challenges when he said: “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.”

He said: “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***’ on July 24 2019 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.”

The judgment referred to a 1995 case which found that a woman had been sexually discriminated against when a manager made a single comment to her about the size of her breasts with the remark “hiya, big tits”.

Judge Brain concluded: “It is much more likely that a person on the receiving end of a comment such as that which was made in the (1995) case would be female. 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 finding of sexual harassment was part of a longer judgment which also found that Mr Finn was unfairly and wrongly dismissed in 2021 despite having “an unblemished disciplinary record over not far off 24 years of service”.

An additional claim that Mr Finn was subjected to age discrimination was dismissed after the tribunal decided that that Mr King had not called him an “old bald c***”, just “bald c***”.