Current and former workers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, are making their voices heard after sufffering years of what they describe as racial discrimination and a toxic work environment.
Complaints have continued piling up against the health care facility, where nearly two dozen employees say they were routinely mistreated, according to local station FOX 4 KC. The workers allege the discrimination reportedly ranged from the cooks to the doctors, and included bullying, staff acceding to patients’ demands not be cared for by Blacks, and African-American workers being compared to apes.
“I don’t think it’s anything that’s new. It’s been there, just nobody has taken an effort to do anything about it,” said a former employee, whose identity the station shielded. “It’s like they know about it, but they are not doing anything to rectify the situation.”
The woman, who was described as one of the more than 20 Kansas City VA employees who filed complaints, says the workplace left her both mentally and physically drained, so much so that she resigned.
“Some days I would literally be in the parking lot [and] call them and tell them I can’t make it in today because I am sick,” she recalled. “I’m literally on the premises, ready to walk in, but I’m so sick to my stomach because of the anxiety, the harassment and all the bullying.”
Workers have also alleged wrongful terminations, retaliation and employees being passed up for promotions, FOX 4 reports. The claims reportedly date back at least 15 years.
The station’s report referred to the complaints as being both filed and investigated by the local NAACP chapter. However, there was no word on whether formal legal action has been taken against the hospital or exactly in what form or venue the reported complaints were filed. The employees, both current and previous, apparently wish to remain anonymous as they bring their case to the public.
The accusations have since caught the attention of the local NAACP branch.
“It’s not a good feeling, but it is a reality,” Kansas City NAACP President Dr. Rodney E. Williams told the outlet. “And these are the times in which we’re living, so we have to be ready to be responsible.”
The current and former employees are now seeking public and legal support in their fight against the hospital. Hospital workers employed by the VA are ostensibly covered under federal EEOC laws against discrimination and harassment.
“We are there all for one reason: to take care of our veterans,” the former worker said. “Let us take care of our veterans in peace.”
Watch more in the video below.