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Citigroup Faces Gender Discrimination Suit

Citigroup Faces Gender Discrimination Suit

It’s a bit of an open secret that the financial services industry runs as a “boys club,” so few were surprised when Citigroup Inc was accused of gender bias in a federal lawsuit filed this week.  The claims, brought by six women, allege the banking giant routinely denied women professionals equality with men in pay, assignments and promotions.  The allegations mirror allegations made in a separate suit filed last month against Goldman Sachs.

The allegations also touch on a a recurring theme as the economy begins to sort itself out, and that is that many employers used the recession as a way to purge female employees from its ranks.  According to the lawsuit, five of the women were among thousands laid off in November 2008 amid the banking crisis while “in most circumstances Citigroup retained less qualified male employees.”  The one female employee who did not lose her job during this time was demoted after returning from maternity leave.

The women had already filed an action with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who, after an initial investigation of the allegations, found the women had probable cause to proceed with the federal lawsuit.

The women are seeking class action status for women currently and formerly employed at Citigroup at levels including managing director, director, vice president, assistant vice president, associate and analyst between February 2006 and the present. 

This suit, like the Goldman suit before it, exposes the degree to which women have yet to achieve the highest levels of corporate leadership and the forces that remain in their way.  Take the makeup of Citigroup’s Senior Leadership Committee, for example.  It’s dominated by men–39 men to five women–and all 19 members of the Executive Committee are men.  Until there is some parity in the highest levels of leadership in our corporate structures there’s no reason to think this kind of behavior or attitude will change. 

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photo courtesy of Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr

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31 comments

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3:42PM PDT on Oct 21, 2010

2010, and this is still an issue - Citigroup, grow up.

8:21AM PDT on Oct 17, 2010

The recession not only gave private sector and public sector business the opportunity to purge women from its ranks, it also gave them an opportunit to purge non-Whites from their ranks. In times of economic prosperity, people are more willing to share piece of the pie (a small piece) but in times of economic strife, no one wants to share even a crumb of that pie.

11:39PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Why is citigroup still around? After they sent me a letter stating they were going to charge $30 a month to keep me on their mail out list that i never asked to be on in the first place i realized this is a very crooked company. I look forward to hearing they were denied bailout funds when theyre sinking

10:56PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

sad that we still have to fight for this.

8:52PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

**sigh**

8:02PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Sadly, we still have to fight the 'boys clubs' and at what cost? I walked away from corporate to the non-profit sector, and have absolutely no regrets. To date, I haven't been hit in the face with an inaccurate report (mistake made by a male supervisor, I just happened to process the numbers) since. Nor have I had to serve coffee or hang raincoats, how glorious is that?!? Equality and integrity is sadly lacking from many companies - yet women are 50% of the purchasing power in North America. Perhaps its time we put our money where WE believe it should be.

10:54PM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

Women's liberation was always a double-edged sword. It's a sorry state of affairs when a woman has to fight to be equal only to find she is treated like garbage if she succeeds. Grow up, boys, we're not going away.

8:03PM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

When are women of the world going to wake up. Start our own banks, business, run for office, beat them at their own game. But do it better, wiser, fairer and show your ethics.

7:11PM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

fighting against something will not make it go away. We need to be pro love pro peace pro acceptance..

3:40PM PDT on Oct 15, 2010

Too many think we've (women) become as equals but the fact of the matter is as far as my mothers generation brought us forward, my generations apathy has allowed us to slide back down the slippery slope. Right now is the most important time in our generation we are on the verge of losing much more than we have already if we allow the far right to have their way. The media has been proclaiming this the year of the woman even though we have suffered many set backs I think it is just a way for the conservative media to lull those of us not paying close attention.

I say we need to really make this the year of the women and show up in record numbers to vote, bombard those who would restrict our freedoms with astounding amounts of petitions and letters of outrage. We will shout our voices with our sisters who suffer in India, Afghanistan, Africa and everywhere else in the world.

This is OUR WORLD others make it theirs only because through our silence WE ALLOW IT! We must stop this and fight apathy in ourselves and everyone we know. We must FIGHT with our most powerful weapons: our voices, our compassion, our will.

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