Red hair bullying cases could end up in court
'Gingerism' the grounds for constructive dismissal
Gingerism in the workplace could form the basis of formal grievances or constructive dismissal cases, an employment lawyer has warned. The news comes in the wake of one Newcastle family having to move house because of abuse about its members' red hair.
The Chapman family has moved home three times in three years in the Newcastle area because of abuse directed at its six red-haired members. Kevin Chapman told reporters that his 11-year-old son even attempted suicide after becoming depressed following years of abuse.
The story has led to speculation about whether insults over red hair could have the same legal status as insults regarding a person's race or gender.
Catherine Barker, an employment law specialist at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, said that though abuse related to hair colour was not afforded special status, it could still be the basis of a legal dispute.
"In the UK, anti-discrimination legislation prohibits only less favourable treatment on certain grounds – currently sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief and, in employment, age," said Barker. "Less favourable treatment on the grounds of hair colour or appearance, except where it is linked to race, isn't specifically prohibited and name calling of someone with red hair won't amount to unlawful discrimination."
"It could however amount to bullying," she said. "In the workplace, if an employee feels that they are being bullied or harassed for any reason, for example because of their hair colour or appearance, they could lodge a grievance and ultimately could even take the fairly drastic step of resigning and claim constructive dismissal if they could show that their employer failed to intervene to prevent the bullying or harassment concerned."
The practice of picking on people with red hair is thought to be a particularly British trait. Though it can sound trivial to others, years of abuse at school and then also at work can leave the bullied person feeling extremely distressed.
Employers do have a duty of care towards employees, and the law says they should make sure that their workplaces are places where they are not subjected to harassment.
"A much better way [to deal with the problem] is for employers to ensure that the workplace culture is one of respect and equality so that bullying or harassment of any description, on any grounds, is simply not tolerated," said Barker.
"Employees and co-workers also have a responsibility to ensure that bullying of any description, even if on a minor scale, is stamped out. Telling a work colleague that their teasing of a colleague just isn't funny can go a long way to preventing harm being done in the first place," she said.
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OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
Think of the benefits?
I have a ginger mate that is very, very competitive - he is the best at football, mario kart, running, an excellent marksman, one of the last to pass out after a party - everything I can think of he is better at it than I!
I feel this is the case because he has had to prove himself, be it to others or to himself, and he has done very well out of it.
So you can rise above it, or you can come to el reg and whinge about unfairness - its your choice!
Absolutely no need for legislation
We can solve this problem of discrimination with the use of genetic manipulation.
First, at the creation stage, we 'filter' embryos displaying unappealing characteristics. We can do this via foetal removal techniques for poor people, and for wealthier couples with undesirable offspring, via embryonic manipulation to secure traits acceptable to society.
Next, we can adopt social policies to marginalise the undesirables. Link them with promiscuity, thievery, terrorism. Naturally we would need to build correctional institutions in which to manage these 'untermenschen'.
Over time, once we have identified the undesirables, perhaps with the use of symbols, say perhaps yellow stars, we can corral them into specialised camps. This will of course be for their own safety and well-being. A society within a society.
Next, comes what I like to term 'The Final Solution', which will help us create 'The Master Race'.
Clearly, we do not need legislation to deal with discrimination. Such legislation merely papers over the cracks. We need robust, bold and original solutions as outlined above. Solutions that eliminate the source of discomfort, not legislation that offers protection.
On a more serious note, a couple I know recently had a baby. One of their major fears, I kid you not, was that the child would have ginger characteristics. I wonder how many other strawberry blond couples lie awake at night dreading the birth of a russet-topped hier.
I can't believe someone missed the worst ...
redhead nickname - red headed rat rooter - there was also the common carrot top, bluey, etc etc.
Australia is quite a nasty place for redheads (despite our obvious convict abundance here ;)). We were always teased as kids (& sometimes adults) because we didn't fit in. Asian kids, Aboriginal kids even Carnie kids got less harrassment and bullying than we did, mainly because the other kids new we had tempers and would bite (well eventually that is).
One thing I have noticed with being a redhead is that public speaking is always an issue, regardless of confidence levels.
I have found through talking to other redheads and from my own personal experience that when giving a speech it is quite common for the face to heat up, and become blushed due to some extra amount of blood rushing to the head. The worst thing is that once you notice it (which is almost impossible to not) it gets worse and becomes so bad it gets hard to continue without pausing to allow the body to cool down.
This ontop of extreme succeptibility to UV rays from the sun makes Australia a great country to live in if you're a redhead, maybe I should move to the states.