Ardith Lindsey, a managing director at Citigroup, has sued the bank for allegedly tolerating a work culture in which she was sexually harassed and abused by male executives. Lindsay claims that her 15-year career at the bank became a “traumatizing” experience after she ended a relationship with a former supervisor, Mani Singh, who subsequently sent her dozens of threatening text messages.
Citi spokesman Mark Costiglio stated that the bank initiated an investigation following Lindsey's disclosure of her relationship with Singh and claims of his alleged conduct within the organization in November 2022. Costiglio disclosed that she had described the relationship as consensual but had reported inappropriate text messages to the bank. He further revealed that the bank had investigated a previous personal financial transaction between the two individuals. During that investigation, Lindsey had referred to Singh as a friend. Singh resigned on November 15, 2022, and Lindsey left several weeks later. Lindsey has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is on long-term disability leave.
Female Employees Faced Hostile Work Environment at Citi
Lindsey’s 45-page lawsuit highlights the negative experiences many women faced in her workplace, where comments about their sexuality and attractiveness left them feeling worried about the impact on their careers. Lindsey hopes her lawsuit will force the bank to take action against male executives’ inappropriate behavior.
Hostile work environment examples in Lindsey’s lawsuit:
- After two months of working at the bank in 2007, senior manager Rich Evans followed Lindsey home from a Christmas party, kissed her without consent, and refused to leave. After reporting the incident to her boss, nothing changed.
- In 2016, a young trader went to work with a pair of women’s thong underwear in his suit jacket pocket. The employee was goaded into displaying the underwear multiple times. While the trader was fired and their boss was disciplined, Lindsey described that the woman who mentioned the underwear incident to top executives at Citi’s global markets division was shunned by male traders afterward.
- Lindsey also described how the managing director of the stocks business, Jacqueline Moran, experienced harassment for years. Moran is lesbian, and male colleagues demeaned her and joked about her sexuality. Furthermore, a top executive would routinely introduce Moran to Citi’s clients as “the woman I go to gay bars with.”
Lindsey & Singh’s Relationship
Lindsey is seeking unspecified damages in her lawsuit as well as benefits she would have received if she did not experience discriminatory treatment. Singh started at Citi in 2006 and, by 2014, was a senior sales executive in Citi’s stocks business. Citi utilizes a “matrix” organizational structure, meaning traders and salespeople have direct and dotted-line bosses. Singh was Lindsey’s matrix manager, and by 2017, Singh had a say in around 100 people’s careers, including Lindsey’s. Singh had the power to block promotions as well as get employees fired.
According to her lawsuit, Lindsey was promoted to director in 2016, and during this time, Singh began to pressure her into a sexual relationship by “using his authority and threats to harm Lindsey and her family.” Three colleagues believed Singh and Lindsey were in a relationship in 2018 and did not see signs of her being coerced. However, they believed that Singh was violating Citi’s code of conduct, which disapproves of these types of relationships.
In addition, former employees revealed that Singh would berate colleagues. For example, at a 2017 Christmas party, he believed a female vice president criticized his work to a colleague and reprimanded her. The woman ended up leaving the party in tears and described the incident to her manager. However, the manager did not report it to human resources.
Lindsey also alleges that Singh had extended control over her life at work. Lindsey recounted how Singh berated her for speaking with her mentor, who happened to be Singh’s boss. Singh also instructed her not to cooperate with a Citi investigator looking into sexual harassment concerns raised by Moran.
After Lindsey ended their relationship on November 6, 2022, Singh began to threaten her by saying that he would tell their bosses about it. According to text messages, Singh sent one saying, “It’s over for u,” as he declared he would share details about the relationship with other managers. In another message he stated, “Damage done.”
It is unclear what Singh told supervisors. However, after four days of receiving texts and calls from Singh, Lindsey told senior managers about the relationship and filed a report to H.R. on November 10, 2022.
If You’ve Experienced Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, Contact Us
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person's sex. Harassment can include "sexual harassment" or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
Sexual harassment can happen to anyone regardless of their gender and position at work. This type of behavior can create a hostile work environment and result in adverse employment decisions, such as victims being fired or demoted.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment at work, do not hesitate to give our sexual harassment attorneys at Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP a call. We can help you evaluate your case and tell you about your options.
Dial (713) 352-3433 or get in touch with us online.