Employees in the UK have been officially put on notice; insulting a man for being old could land you in deep, deep trouble after a group of judges determined that such an act is a form of sexual harassment.
An “employment tribunal” concluded that because hair loss is much more common among men than women, the term is “Inherently related to sex.” And get this – the judges say it is essentially equivalent to commenting on a woman’s breast size.
The judges got involved because an electrician named Tony Finn sued a small family business in Yorkshire over the use of the word bald. According to the UK Telegraph, Finn’s supervisor allegedly called Finn a “fat, bald c—-.” Adding injury to insult, Finn was eventually fired from the company that makes Woden cask plugs, the Telegraph reported.
The judges had to determine if the jab was simply a verbal jab or a form of harassment. Because men more commonly lose their hair, the tribunal said, “we find it to be inherently related to sex.” The judges also said mocking Finn for not having hair was “degrading” and “humiliating.”
Here’s more from the judges’ decision.
“It is difficult to conclude other than that Mr. King uttered those words with the purpose of violating [Mr. Finn’s] dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him. Of his own admission, Mr. King’s intention was to threaten [Mr. Finn] and to insult him.”
Bottom line is that Finn was fired unjustly after 24 years on the job, and the next step is determining how much he will be getting paid.