Top fire officer from Corby loses race case

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A high-ranking firefighter has lost his legal claim for race discrimination.

Warren Simpson, of Oakley Vale, Corby, was the highest ranked black officer in the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service.

Mr Simpson lodged his claim after being called Frank Bruno and referred to as Malcolm X.

He complained at a previous Birmingham Employment Tribunal hearing that he had been racially harassed, bullied as well as discriminated against because he is black.

He further alleged the management prevented his further promotion and did not heed his transfer request.

His compensation claim against West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service had been opposed by the respondents who denied the allegations.

Apart from being called Frank Bruno, the tribunal had been told that Mr Simpson had been known by the fire service’s Green Watch at Birmingham in the 1990s and early 2000s as Malcolm X, the American pro-black militant, because of his militancy.

Tribunal judge Mr James Macmillan said at the previous tribunal hearing that a decision would be made at a later date. Now Mr Macmillian has revealed that he has rejected Mr Simpson’s legal claim.

Mr Macmillan said Mr Simpson had not been able to show one occasion when somebody who scored lower than him in promotion exercises was promoted in advance of him.

He said: “This is a complaint without substance, the claimant is merely aggrieved that he has been unable to achieve a substantive promotion but there is no evidence whatsoever of less favourable treatment than any comparable white officer where the circumstances of that white officer are truly comparable as required by the Equality Act.”

Mr Macmillan added that Mr Simpson was referred to as Malcolm X because of his militant trade union activities and that when a councillor called him Frank in a meeting that was videoed it was “a slip of the tongue”.

Mr Macmillan said: “The claimant is very obviously just as amused as everybody else and is seen chuckling on the video. No doubt he would say he was putting on a performance to hide how hurt he really was, but if so it is a remarkably convincing and spontaneous one. There is no hint at all that he is in anyway discomforted by what has taken place.”

Mr Macmillan concluded: “We have dealt with each issue raised by Mr Simpson and all of the claimant’s complaints of race discrimination fail.”