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Daniel Barnett reacts to 'bizarre' tribunal ruling that calling man bald is sex harassment
13 May 2022, 10:23 | Updated: 13 May 2022, 10:35
LBC's Daniel Barnett has labelled an employment tribunal ruling that it's harassment to call a man bald because of his sex as "bizarre".
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While speaking to Nick Ferrari, Daniel was reacting to an employment tribunal ruling that calling a man bald is comparable to commenting on the size of a woman's breasts and amounts to sex harassment.
The landmark decision - made by a panel of three bald men, according to The Telegraph - concerns a claim brought by Tony Finn, 64, against the British Bung Company, where he worked as an electrician for 24 years before he was fired in 2021.
Mr Finn said he was a victim of sexual harassment after remarks were made about his baldness, including being called a "stupid bald c***" by his supervisor during an argument.
Mr Finn's supervisor, Jamie King, also threatened to "deck" him, Mr Finn recalled, saying the encounter left him "fearful for my personal safety".
The three-person panel said the remark "crossed a line" and dismissed an argument that the comment was not sexist because women can be bald too.
The judgement said there was "a connection between the word 'bald'" and "the protected characteristic of sex", noting that it is "much more prevalent in men than women".
The panel, led by Judge Jonathan Brain, added: "We find it inherently related to sex."
While explaining the ruling Daniel said: "And here's the controversial bit.
"The tribunal also said that because the word was 'bald' and men are more likely to be bald than women, the word used was related to sex and so the harassment was sex harassment.
"Now, when you break it down like that, it just about kind of makes sense.
"But I do think these sorts of cases give discrimination law a bad name, because it's just counter-intuitive. It's not the sort of thing you instinctively think should be sex discrimination."
Asked by Nick how he thinks the "common man or woman" views what tribunal's ruling on the subject, Daniel said: "Well, it just sounds bonkers, doesn't it?"
In response, Nick said: "I'm afraid, I've got to be honest with you sport, it sounds utter nuts."
Daniel replied: "It does. And you could argue it much better the other way around. You could argue it would be more hurtful to call a woman bald on the basis that there's social stigma related to female baldness but not male baldness.
"So it's bizarre to hold that it's harassment to call a man bald because of his sex."
The tribunal compared the case to a previous one that found a man had sexually harassed a woman by commenting on the size of her breasts.
It said that, because the person on the receiving end of the comment is much more likely to be of a certain gender, the same could be said about Mr Finn's case.
The tribunal said the remark was made "with a view to hurting the claimant by commenting on his appearance which is often found amongst men".
It added: "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."