KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Racial discrimination complaints are piling up against the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
More than 20 employees, both past and present, are claiming what they describe as years of discrimination, hostile work environments and retaliation at the site.
“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 who asked not to be identified. “It’s like they know about it, but they are not doing anything to rectify the situation.”
This woman whose name FOX4 is protecting is among the Kansas City VA employees who filed complaints.
She said the environment inside was mentally and physically exhausting, leading her to resign after nearly a decade of work.
“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,” the former employee said.
“I am 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 that I just can’t go into the front door,” she continued.
The group’s collective complaints include what they describe as a hostile work environment, black employees being compared to monkeys and Aunt Jemima, workers being denied promotions, wrongful terminations and retaliations.
The complaints also allege the discrimination ranges from the cooks to doctors, and they say not one black person holds a significant position of power.
“We have objective evidence that will prove we have been discriminated against. This is not subjective. This is not about emotions. This is about factual incidents where federal laws have been violated and broken,” a current employee said.
The claims have even caught the attention of the local NAACP chapter.
“It’s not a good feeling, but it is a reality, and these are the times in which we are living, so we have to be ready to be responsible,” said the Rev. Dr. Rodney E. Williams, president of the Kansas City NAACP.
The employees of the hospital, both past and present, are urging for public and legal support to help them have a voice.
It’s a voice they say has been silenced far too long because of fear.
“We are there all for one reason: to take care of our veterans. Let us take care of our veterans in peace.”
FOX4 did reach out to the Veterans Affairs office multiple times. They have yet to respond.