Employees of the Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services spoke out on Wednesday saying they have been treated unfairly.
They feel it’s because of the color of their skin.
Employees have filed more than 20 complaints with Connecticut’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, also known as the NAACP.
Channel 3 spoke with workers one-on-one on Wednesday, and one woman, who is Puerto Rican, said she was passed up for a job, even though she said she has her master’s degree. She said the person who was hired had a high school diploma and was white.
Travon Jackson has been working in mental health for 28 years, 11 years with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
He says he was fired.
“For someone like myself, I was never in trouble and have an outstanding work history I was nominated and was an employee of the year and my work speaks for myself,” Jackson said.
He claims minority employees at the department are treated unfairly.
“The diversity and the treatment up there and the racial tension up there is just over the top and it really needs to be looked into,” Jackson said.
The state's Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities met inside the legislative office building in Hartford on Wednesday.
The NAACP was there and said they've been looking into these claims.
They say they've fielded over 20 complaints from workers about unfair and racially biased treatment at several facilities around the state.
“Harsh treatment and punishment, retaliation, and harassment that affects employees of color around the state,” said Jason Teal, of the NAACP.
The NAACP is calling on commissioners to start investigating the claims.
Meanwhile, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services said “The Department takes matters related to allegations of discrimination very seriously. DMHAS exercises due diligence in investigating allegations brought to our attention to ensure that all federal and state laws regarding discrimination are followed.”
What happens next is the human rights attorney will need to take a look at every individual complaint.
If she finds it credible, then commissioners will get those formal complaints.
Commissioners will then decide if they want to hear these worker's complaints during a public hearing.
They're supposed to meet in one month.
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