The “boys club” of Wall Street has struck again! Financial giant Citigroup Inc. joins a long list of financial services companies being charged with gender discrimination. Five former directors and analysts of the New York based bank and one current employee recently filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against Citigroup alleging that they were paid less than their counter-part male colleagues. The women are seeking class-action certification on behalf of women at job levels from analyst to managing director and a court order ending the discrimination.
The lawsuit alleges that Citigroup has always had a “boys club” environment resulting in middle and senior management positions being held by men. Its Senior Leadership Committee is made up of 39 men and 5 women while its Executive Committee is made up of 19 men and not a single woman. Some of the claims include “systemic and pervasive discrimination and retaliation” regarding decisions involving compensation, promotion and termination.
One of the plaintiffs also alleges gender based inappropriate and offensive comments as well as being paid less than her male counter-parts. The lawsuit alleges that Citigroup has a “glass ceiling adversely affecting female employees, especially those female employees who become pregnant, take a maternity leave, or have childcare obligations, at Citigroup in all facets of employment.” The lawsuit states that at least 50 women have complained of such discriminatory practices as well as retaliation since March 2007.
The lawsuit accuses Citigroup of using government bailout money while laying off female employees during the November 2008 layoffs and saving the jobs of less qualified men. The lawsuit alleges “recessionary discrimination” because Citigroup fired thousands of female employees and kept the less qualified men. The lawsuit claims this bias occurred because Citigroup allowed its supervisors and managers discretion to decide which employees to fire, rather than having them base their decisions on performance.
Citigroup has responded that it “has a long-standing commitment to equal employment practices and to provide a professional and respectful workplace free of unlawful discrimination.” Citigroup has denied the allegations as being “either totally inaccurate or selectively incomplete” and not supporting the “claims of gender discrimination.”
Wall Street is well known for being a “boys club” and its long history of sex and gender discrimination against women. Goldman Sachs and American International Group have also been in the news recently facing gender discrimination suits. What makes this lawsuit more appalling is that Citigroup used government bailout money, i.e., taypayer monies, to engage in discriminatory employment practices. Clearly, gender discrimination in employment in the financial sector are not going anywhere. It has become a fact of Wall Street that women have to fight to ensure they are treated justly. According to the Government Accountability Office statistics, women managers in finance, which includes bank tellers and executives, earned 63.9 cents for every dollar of income that men earned in 2000, based on median salaries. If you believe you are being discriminated against regarding any aspect of your employment because of your gender, call our experienced Gender Discrimination Attorneys at Villanueva and Sanchala to help you protect your employment rights.
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