Citi Sued by Gay Employee for Discrimination, Retaliation
(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. is being sued by an employee in a unit that serves hedge funds who says he was demoted for reporting harassment complaints about a new hire and discriminated against based on his sexual orientation.
Thomas Krauss, who until recently led the firm’s capital introduction group for the Americas, accuses Citigroup of retaliating against him after he raised questions about the past behavior of the hire in its prime-brokerage unit. He filed a complaint against the bank on Monday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Krauss, who is gay and joined Citigroup in 2010, also alleges that he was denied a promotion to managing director because of his sexual orientation and for extra work he did on behalf of the company’s LGBTQ initiatives.
“We take issues of this nature very seriously,” Citigroup spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos said in an emailed statement. “When Mr. Krauss’ concerns were first raised earlier this year, they were independently and thoroughly reviewed and not substantiated.”
In the suit, Krauss says he was retaliated against because of action he took regarding Joseph Genovese, a Deutsche Bank veteran who had been offered a job at Citigroup as head of sales for the Americas at its prime-brokerage unit.
Shortly after the hiring was announced, the suit says Krauss learned about alleged sexual harassment complaints previously made against Genovese. Concerned that Genovese’s hiring could put Citigroup at risk of creating a “hostile and offensive work environment,” the suit says Krauss disclosed what he learned to senior Citigroup managers. Citigroup later withdrew the offer made to Genovese.
Genovese didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The suit says that despite Krauss’s disclosure being made in confidence, several executives pushed to find out who “‘blew the whistle” on Genovese. Once they became convinced it was Krauss, they began a campaign to punish him.
Despite receiving consistently positive evaluations, Krauss’s 2019 year-end review reflected a decrease in his leadership rating, which led to a pay reduction and “effectively destroyed his Citi career,” according to the complaint.
“It is easy to say you are not tolerant of discrimination but action, as is true with Citi, speaks louder than empty words,” said Daniel Kaiser, Krauss’s lawyer with the firm Kaiser, Saurborn & Mair, in a statement Monday
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