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Fulton State Hospital
Fulton State Hospital; Image By Julie Smith, http://www.newstribune.com/

Fulton State Hospital, a mental hospital in Missouri, as well as the state of Missouri, is under fire in a new lawsuit alleging workplace discrimination. According to the lawsuit filed by Jerome Morgan, a Jamaican native and employee at the mental hospital, “he was assigned to tougher jobs and called racist names because he is black.” At the moment, he is seeking $25,000 in damages. However, Morgan’s case is only one in a series of many discrimination cases “brought by state workers, including a recent decision that could award $2 million to a female employee of the Missouri Department of Corrections.

So what happened exactly that prompted Morgan to file this latest lawsuit? For starters, Morgan claims he and “other black workers were assigned to tasks that present a higher risk for physical violence than their white colleagues.” Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that one of Morgan’s white co-workers told him that he hated black people. Other co-workers mentioned multiple times that black people “need to go back to their country.”

Image of the Official Missouri State Seal
Missouri State Seal; Image Courtesy of Missouri Secretary of State, https://www.sos.mo.gov

The lawsuit itself was filed by Rod Chapel in Cole County. Chapel is the president of the Missouri NAACP, and, when speaking on behalf of Morgan, said the “derogatory comments were reported to department supervisors, but no action was taken to address the allegations.” Many can agree that no one deserves to be treated like Morgan was, which is why the lawsuit didn’t pull any punches when it pointed out that “training should have been provided to workers to make employment-based decisions without racial animus or discriminatory bias.”

Perhaps if the proper training had been provided, employees like Morgan wouldn’t have to endure such discrimination. They wouldn’t have to feel everything Morgan felt, which, according to the lawsuit, included the following:

“The plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer mental anguish and emotional distress, including but not limited to depression, humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, emotional pain and suffering.”

As previously mentioned, though, this isn’t the first discrimination lawsuit filed by state employees. In fact, over the “past five years, state taxpayers have been charged more than $52 million to settle lawsuits against state agencies, with the majority of those awards coming from cases involving discrimination.” While many are still pending, some have settled in the plaintiff’s favor. For example, back in 2016, a gender discrimination lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Corrections settled for $1.9 million. That being said, it will be interesting to see how Morgan’s case plays out.

Sources:

State facing another workplace discrimination lawsuit

Race discrimination suit filed against Fulton State Hospital

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