Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool, Associated Press
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is greeted upon his arrival in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, Dec., 15, 2011.

WASHINGTON — A black former Defense Department worker alleges in a discrimination lawsuit that one of her supervisors hung a staffed ape in a noose across from her desk after she complained about a co-worker's harassment.

Mirlin Toomer has worked for six years at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, which is part of the Defense Department. She is seeking at least $300,000 in damages and naming Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as defendant in the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

Toomer says she complained after her co-worker stood behind her with scissors and threatened to cut her wig. She says the supervisor hung the stuffed ape after she filed a formal complaint.

A spokesman for the NGIA declined comment. The Defense Department referred calls to a legislative liaison who also did not comment.