An ill-pated adventure

25th April 2008 at 01:00
Could teachers claim compensation for disability discrimination if pupils tease them about having a big nose or big ears?
Could teachers claim compensation for disability discrimination if pupils tease them about having a big nose or big ears?

That would make as much sense as compensating a teacher who says he was bullied because he was bald, an employment tribunal has found.

It ruled that James Campbell, 61, a former art teacher at Denny High School in Scotland, was not entitled to compensation for harassment he suffered from pupils.

"If baldness was to be regarded as an impairment, then perhaps a physical feature such as a big nose, big ears or being smaller than average height might of themselves be regarded as an impairment," the judge said.

Mr Campbell often avoided school corridors where he might meet pupils, lest they shout "baldy" at him. He also left school late at night to avoid them.

If they were prepared to call him baldy to his face, they might also assault him, he argued.

But the tribunal was not convinced. Being bald, it would seem, is neither hair nor there when it comes to physical impairment. Libby Purves, page 36.

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