Grampian fire chief loses age discrimination case

David Dalziel says he lost out to colleagues with less experience. Picture: SWNS
David Dalziel says he lost out to colleagues with less experience. Picture: SWNS
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The former chief of Grampian fire service has lost his age discrimination case.

David Dalziel, 62, claimed he missed out on leading Scotland’s new national fire and rescue service because of his age. He later resigned.

The veteran fireman decided to sue the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) after he lost out on senior positions when the eight regional services merged on 1 April last year.

He took his former employer to an employment tribunal over claims of age discrimination and unfair dismissal at the end of last year.

Yesterday it was confirmed he had lost his case. He has 42 days to appeal the tribunal’s decision.

A SFRS spokesperson said: “We are very pleased the employment tribunal accepted the case put forward by SFRS. We look forward to reading the judgment in full.”

Mr Dalziel claimed to have missed out on leading the new national fire and rescue service despite being recommended for the job. He maintained he lost five senior management-team positions to younger colleagues with less experience.

He said that Scotland’s first chief fire officer Alistair Hay told him after his appointment that he wanted Mr Dalziel as his deputy. But he said he was not offered the position.

The tribunal heard that Mr Dalziel then made secret recordings of his conversations in two meetings with Mr Hay last year because he felt that he had lost faith in what his colleague was saying. In a recording on 15 March, Mr Hay denied offering Mr Dalziel the deputy’s job. Mr Dalziel told the tribunal: “In my last meeting with Mr Hay when he completely reversed the truth about him wanting me to be his deputy, he was calling me and my family liars.”

Mr Dalziel later turned down an offer to run a supporting project as it would mean reporting to the senior management team – who he had lost out to in the interview process.

The tribunal heard that Mr Dalziel was on the shortlist for Scotland’s first chief fire officer but was pipped to the post by former Tayside chief Mr Hay, 50.

The tribunal judges ruled that Mr Dalziel was not selected for the top post because of how he scored in an online psychometric test and how he dealt with interview questions. Three other candidates scored better during the interview process.

The interviewing panel also believed that Mr Dalziel was only interested in the depute chief officer position and not the five assistant chief officer roles.

Their ruling said that his treatment was “nothing whatsoever” to do with his age.

The tribunal judges also dismissed the complaint of unfair dismissal.