Michigan DHS Worker Wins $21,000 in Discrimination Lawsuit After Ape Doll Was Placed on Her Cubicle

A toy monkey can result in a hefty fine, at least that’s the take away from a recent Michigan case involving a toy monkey which was placed on top of an Africanape American employee’s  cubicle.

Michigan’s Department of Human Services (DHS) was fined $21,000 after an ape doll was placed on DHS worker Crystal Perry’s cubicle and left there for three weeks. The ape appeared just days after Perry met with her supervisors to discuss why she wasn’t being promoted.

“It truly belittled me. It just made me feel less than a person” Perry told the Lansing State Journal.

The judge who heard the case agreed with Perry.

(It) is despicable,” said Judge Aquilina, according to court transcripts quoted by the Lansing Journal. “It is not worthy of any state department. It is a continued, hostile work environment. It is upsetting. It is beneath any American.”

The judge fined DHS $1,000 for every day it was left atop Perry’s office cubicle — a total of $21,000 for the three weeks.

Perry, who has a master’s degree in human resources and labor relations from Michigan State University, believes the action was racially motivated.

DHS spokesman David Akerly said the agency plans to appeal Aquilina’s ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals.




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  1. LIFE-SIZE Ape Placed On Black Employee’s Desk, Employer Refuses To Move It For 3 Weeks

    In 2009, Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) state worker Crystal Perry met with her supervisor to discuss why she was overlooked for a promotion. Days later, someone reportedly perched a 5-foot-tall ape on top of her cubicle wall to which Perry responded by filing a lawsuit against the agency charging discrimination. Now, more than three years later, an Ingham County judge has fined Perry’s employer $1,000 for every day the toy remained on her desk, which amounts to $21,000, according to the Huffington Post.

    Once Perry, 47, who has a Master’s degree in human resources and labor relations, discovered the ape above her cubicle, she reportedly approached her supervisor, Duane Noworyta, who is White, about the inappropriate toy. According to Perry, she asked her supervisor repeatedly to remove the ape, but Noworyta allegedly refused and walked away each time.

    Perry even reportedly sent e-mails to the DHS department responsible for employee harassment issues but the ape remained untouched for a three-week period.

    “It truly belittled me. It just made me feel less than a person,” Perry, has been with DHS for six years, told the Lansing Journal.

    Perry also claims that there were several White colleagues at DHS who had been promoted to supervisory positions within the agency even though they lacked degrees.

    Last month, after Judge Rosemarie Aquilina finally reviewed Perry’s lawsuit, the judge was particularly moved by the fact that the employer did not remove the ape. While some may argue that Perry should have just removed the ape herself, Perry says, “I didn’t want someone to say [I wasn’t] supposed to do that. It [racist situations] always gets turned back on the victim.”

    And the judge agrees with her.

    “She had a responsibility to say, ‘I’m upset. I don’t like it. It bothers me. It hurts me,” Judge Aquilina said according to the Lansing Journal. “She did that.”

    Not only did the judge fine the agency $21,000 but she also ordered them to pay all of Perry’s attorney’s fees.

    “[It] is despicable,” Judge Aquilina said, according to the court transcripts. “It is not worthy of any state department. It is a continued, hostile work environment. It is upsetting. It is beneath any American.”

    Even though Perry’s lawsuit is the third one in recent years alleging discrimination within the agency, DHS Spokesperson David Akerly intends to appeal Aquilina’s ruling.

    Meanwhile, Perry was transferred to a department within the agency that handles employee discrimination complaints and to date has not been promoted.




    • Your post was awesome til you ended it with CRACKERS are apes lol HATE DOESNT END HATE..RACISM ONLY FEEDS THE FIRE ALREADY THERE. MAYBE YOUR STATEMENT WITH OUT THE CRACKER COMMENTS WOULD BE TAKEN SERIOUS.. I agree but the cracker comment wasnt necessary

  2. It’s called a ‘sock monkey’ and it was definitely a racist gesture from some cowards!

  3. I think she should have gotten more than $21,000. This does not punish them enough for their actions. Since they are showing no remorse, the appellate court should increase the award.

  4. Nothing Has Changed

    Yep it looks like a monkey to me. These government jobs are just as racist and/or prejudice as corporate jobs and I’ve been in both environnents. Those idiots, it’s 2013 and people are more racist than ever. IT WILL NEVER END SADLY because there will always be something to keep people at odds, whether it’s skin complexion, weight, faith belief, etc

  5. Does the sock doll look like a monkey and/or ape?

  6. It’s a sock doll not a monkey.Stop being a victim and be a victor.

    • While it might be intellectually satisfying to take that view, you might want to take a look at history and check out how far that stance will get you. Even though the Civil Rights Movement was based on the notions of non-violence its principles were advanced through action because that is what is required as long as racist ignorance like this persists.

    • Its a fucking monkey open your eyes lol