A Ghanaian immigrant who says he was harassed by his supervisor in a New York University mailroom has received a $210,000 payout from the university in a settlement that was just made public.
The complaint in the suit, filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleges that Osei Agyemang's boss repeatedly ridiculed him as a "monkey" and a "gorilla," asked him, "Do you want a banana?" and referred to his accent as "gibberish," while telling him "go back to your cage" and "go back to the jungle."
The lawsuit accused NYU of ignoring Agyemang's complaints about the conduct while he worked at the library, and says the harassment ended only after his 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.
NYU spokesman John Beckman said in a statement, "Such behavior is extremely rare here, and totally at odds with the spirit of diversity and tolerance for which NYU is rightly known."
Clearly, not all of the university's employees have embraced the idea of human decency, let alone a "spirit of diversity and tolerance." But as part of the settlement, NYU has agreed to enhance its anti-discrimination policies. So, there's some hope that the troubling facts alleged in this case will lead to improvements in the school's culture in the mailroom and beyond.
Read more at the Daily News.
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