Black employees at Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital face racism from patients and coworkers, investigation finds

A new Vermont Human Rights Commission investigative report found that black employees at the Berlin-based Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital have been subject to racial harassment by both patients and coworkers, according to the Burlington Free Press.

The five-member commission discovered Ismina Francois, a mental health specialist at the hospital, was forced to work with a racist patient who had a swastika tattoo and became visibly agitated whenever around Ms. Francois.

They also found that Ms. Francois' coworkers called her various racial epithets. However, the commission said the treatment did not qualify as illegal discrimination and instead instructed the hospital staff to develop a "code of civility."

"Ignoring the urgency and necessity of training created a permissive climate for patients to verbally attack African Americans and put them at risk for bodily harm, with little or no support," the report read. "The same climate allowed staff to make unfettered and unchecked racially motivated statements."

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