By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former Citigroup Inc financial adviser on Monday filed a lawsuit accusing the bank of running a “boys’ club” that favored men over women, treating her as a “glorified secretary,” and firing her in retaliation for whistleblowing activity.
Erin Daly is seeking double back pay, unpaid bonuses and punitive damages over the bank’s alleged harassment, hostile work environment and unlawful retaliation, according to her lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.
The resident of Manhattan’s Upper West side said Citigroup let her go less than two weeks after she complained that her manager demanded inside information from her work on restricted stock offerings, so that he could pass it to favored clients.
Daly said she also filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and plans to add federal discrimination claims against the fourth-largest U.S. bank.
“We believe the claims alleged are without merit and intend to vigorously defend against them,” Citigroup spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos said.
The lawsuit is one of many over the years accusing U.S. banks of favoring male bankers, traders and financial advisers over their female counterparts, and permitting improper conduct.
Bank of America Corp in September settled one such case, in which former co-head of global structured products Megan Messina accused it of running a “bro’s club.”
Daly said she graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2005, and according to brokerage industry records worked for Citigroup from 2007 to 2014.
She claimed that even though she performed well, Citigroup took away many of her responsibilities, and even once forced her to apologize in writing for requesting equal treatment.
Daly also said Citigroup sometimes routed stock allocations from “hot deals,” such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s $25 billion initial public offering in 2014, to a male colleague, advancing his career at her expense.
“Citi’s ‘boys’ club’ policies and practices” reflect a “culture of gender discrimination,” the complaint said. “The boys were in charge. The men were doing business. Erin was just a glorified secretary.”
A lawyer for Daly declined additional comment.
The case is Daly v. Citigroup Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-09183.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Diane Craft)