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Former Kansas City VA employee files discrimination suit

Kansas City VA Medical Center.jpg
Posted at 5:28 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 18:28:39-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Another former Kansas City VA Medical Center employee has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit, alleging he was called “boy” and “crackhead,” and, at times, physically pushed out of meetings.

Michael Hill, an accounting technician at the VA from 2010-19, is the latest to come forward following a summer 2020 protest against racist and discriminatory practices at the KCVA.

He said in the lawsuit that he began having panic attacks following an interaction with a white supervisor after the coworker who allegedly called him a “crack head” was allowed to work remotely and Hill wasn’t.

“While she was teleworking, her certificates were left on the wall. A white supervisor, while perusing the teleworking co-worker’s certificate, said that Plaintiff was not wanted at the KCVA,” court documents state. “At the time, the supervisor told Plaintiff he was not wanted there, Plaintiff was speaking to a Black colleague. The supervisor pointed to the certificate on the wall and told Plaintiff that it was a symbol of the ‘cross-burning mentality.’”

The suit, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for Western District of Missouri, also stated that Hill was “repeatedly ignored” for promotions and “required to train new individuals to take higher grade positions over him.”

“Plaintiff was the only African American male accounting technician in the Fiscal Department. From the start, his two Caucasian supervisors began isolating him from his coworkers and stripping him of his duties,” documents state. “He was required to send every email he generated to his trainers and supervisors, unlike any other employee.”

Some coworkers, court documents state, also repeatedly told Hill “his degrees were not real, were not earned or were not helpful” in the fiscal department. Hill has two master’s degrees in accounting and is a certified public accountant.

Hill also was a union steward and was involved in “multiple complaints of racial discrimination and harrassment on behalf of other colleagues,” according to court documents.

Last month, Grecian Gill, a former KCVA medical support assistant, spoke out about her lawsuit, alleging “rampant” discrimination.

41 Action News reached out to the KCVA for comment and was referred to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has yet to respond.