Posted Date: 18th May 2022

Electrician Tony Finn took his employer, the British Bung Company, to an employment tribunal after his supervisor, Mr King, made hurtful and unwanted comments regarding his baldness, followed by an expletive, on two occasions.


As baldness is much more prevalent in men than women, and gender is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act, the tribunal ruled that Finn was a victim of sex-based harassment.


Mr King’s comments created an intimidating environment for Tony Finn, therefore he immediately informed management following the second incident. However, he was unhappy with their response, so wrote a statement regarding the incidents with the support of his son who worked for the West Yorkshire Police. As a result of this, the British Bung Company dismissed him for gross misconduct, accusing him of trying to intimidate them. Mr Finn appealed the decision, stating that he was not issuing a police statement, but his appeal was not upheld.


The tribunal upheld claims of sex harassment, unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal, but dismissed an age discrimination claim as baldness can occur at any age. A statement confirming the compensation awarded is yet to be released.


The lesson here is to be mindful of the banter that occurs in your workplace, its not always harmless. For some people, baldness can be very distressing for the individual and can impact their mental health. Pointing out baldness, and using it as an offensive insult, is used to belittle and demean a person.


You, as the employer, are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment in the workplace and ensuring a positive culture, where people are given respect and dignity.


If you notice any insults being thrown, or banter which may be made in jest but could be offensive, you should be prepared to step in. Talk with the individual, confidentially, as soon as you’re aware that there’s a problem. In many cases the person might be unaware of how they are being perceived by others and will respond to a quiet word. As a business, you should be making a clear message to your team that bullying and harassment, of any kind, isn’t tolerated.


For further information on bullying and harassment, or any other HR support, please contact us. 



Click here to view our Privacy Policy