MONTPELIER, Vt. — A state investigation has found that African-American employees at a Vermont psychiatric hospital were discriminated against by patients and co-workers.

The Burlington Free Press reports the Vermont Human Rights Commission determined last month the Department of Mental Health had discriminated against Ismina Francois by not addressing harassment at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital. The commission opened an investigation into the Berlin facility following Francois’ complaint last year.

The report says Francois, a mental health specialist, was assigned to care for patients who use racial slurs and threatened her. The commission found the facility’s failure to act provided a climate that enabled staff to make racially insensitive comments.

The state argued that the incidents didn’t create an abusive work environment. The commission will consider bringing the case to court if a settlement isn’t reached.


Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com