MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Reaction came during a town hall meeting in Meriden on Thursday following allegations of widespread racism throughout Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS).
Leaders wanted all claims brought out into the open and promised to take action.
At least 75 people were on hand to voice concerns.
“I’ve been with DMHAS since 2002. During that time as a black man working there, I felt that I was less than an employee,” stated one man.
Several minority employees at the Connecticut DMHAS are claiming they’ve been discriminated against and say it’s been going on for years.
“The workers, they felt helpless. They felt hopeless,” explained another. “They say that no one would listen to them, that no one would do anything about their complaints.”
Allegations include harassment of black employees, a severely disproportionate number of black workers being fired compared to white employees, and more.
The event on Thursday was organized by the Human Rights Commission with the president of Connecticut’s chapter of the NAACP also on hand.
The commissioner of DMHAS, Dr. Miriam Delphin-Rittmo, stated that the allegations from the News 8 report were disturbing and that she is vowing to take action.
“That’s why the next important step is to launch an investigation as necessary,” she said.
DMHAS says it will also devote a hotline and website address for workers to submit confidential complaints of discrimination.