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story.lead_photo.caption Work continues Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 on the $211 million construction project at Fulton State Hospital. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

An employee at Fulton State Hospital has filed a discrimination suit against the state and two co-workers, claiming he was assigned to tougher jobs and called racist names because he is black.

Security aide Jerome Morgan, a Jefferson City resident who is from Jamaica, is seeking more than $25,000 in damages on each of three discrimination counts based on race, nation of origin and retaliation.

According to the lawsuit, Morgan and other black workers were assigned to tasks that "present a higher risk for physical violence" than their white colleagues in August 2016. Morgan secures patients and provides security for workers at the facility.

In September 2016, the suit claims, one white co-worker told him, "I hate black people," while others said, "They need to go back to their country."

The lawsuit, filed in Cole County by attorney Rod Chapel, who is president of the Missouri NAACP, said the derogatory comments were reported to department supervisors but no action was taken to address the allegations.

The suit also notes training should have been provided to workers to "make employment based decisions without racial animus or discriminatory bias."

"Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer mental anguish and emotional distress, including but not limited to depression, humiliation, embarrassment, stress and anxiety, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, emotional pain and suffering," the lawsuit states.

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