A top hair surgeon has welcomed an employment tribunal’s ruling that calling a man ‘bald’ is sexual harassment – as he claims so-called ‘friendly banter’ can negatively harm blokes’ mental health.
Hair transplant surgeon Dr Umear Ahmad said he’s seen countless patients, particularly young men, coming to them for help who are negatively affected by comments.
The surgeon, from award-winning hair transplant clinic Juvida, said the ruling reflects changing attitudes to hair loss and the impact ‘joke’ comments can make on those already down about their hairline.
Dr Ahmad said: “A significant number of people that we see come for hair transplants because ‘banter’ has had an adverse effect on their mental health.
“Younger folk are very conscious of their hair loss, especially when their peers have a full head of hair.
“Anxiety is a prominent issue and it definitely detrimentally affects their mental health. They often feel down and low because of it.
“If they’re being verbally abused – being called ‘bald this’ or ‘bald that’ then of course that’s going to affect their mental health.
“Guys will pick out a fault and then use that as ammunition and it’s just brushed off as ‘friendly banter’.
“But obviously there’s truth in it and they’ve picked on it for a particular reason and guys are conscious of it.
“If someone were to make a joke of someone’s weight most people would say that’s probably inappropriate but some would say it’s banter and it’s the same with hair loss.
“You’re basically picking on them. A panel has judged it to be sexual harassment and I think it reflects changes attitudes and that it’s now being taken so seriously.”
The employment tribunal made the landmark ruling after an employee complained about being called bald.
As hair loss is more prevalent among men, a judge found that using it to describe someone is a form of discrimination.
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