African Immigrant Granted $210,000 After NYU Supervisor Called Him a “Monkey” and “Gorilla”

African Immigrant Granted $210,000 After NYU Supervisor Called Him a “Monkey” and “Gorilla”

Osei Agyemang received the money in response to his lawsuit filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Published August 18, 2011

Even at one of the nation’s most prestigious schools, discrimination can occur.


An African immigrant recently received $210,000 from New York University in a lawsuit alleging that he was continuously called a “monkey” and a “gorilla” by his supervisor.


In a lawsuit originally filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in September 2010, NYU library employee Osei Agyemang said that his boss treated him like an animal from July 2007 to January 2009 while he was employed at the school.


Questions such as "do you want a banana?" were asked by the boss and Agyemang’s Ghanaian accent was mocked as “gibberish” and he was told to "go back to your cage" and "go back to the jungle," according to the lawsuit.


The lawsuit accused the school of ignoring the employee’s complaints about the harassing attacks while he worked in its Bobst Library. The attacks ended only after Agyemang’s request for a transfer was granted.

"This suit shows that ugly harassment and retaliation can happen anywhere, even at a prestigious university," said EEOC attorney Gilliam Thomas, who represented Agyemang.


The school responded by enhancing their anti-discrimination policies. They called the behavior “rare” to happen at the school.


The supervisor is no longer employed at the school. 


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(Photo: Glen Argov/Landov)

Written by Danielle Wright


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