‘Boys’ Club Lives On’
At the heart of Lindsey’s Nov. 20 lawsuit are allegations that Mani Singh, another Citigroup managing director who was always more senior than her, coerced her into an abusive relationship and threatened her and her family with violence after she ended it in October 2022. Over the years, she alleges, he often belittled her accomplishments and suggested he had the power to block women’s advancement. According to the suit, when Lindsey was not promoted to managing director the first time she was considered, Singh hinted that he was responsible.

Singh, who wasn’t named as a defendant in Lindsey’s suit, couldn’t be reached for comment. He didn’t respond to earlier emails and phone calls seeking comment as well as a request passed through a lawyer representing him in an unrelated matter.

Citigroup has said Singh was put on leave and then resigned after Lindsey complained to human resources about hundreds of text messages he sent her in October 2022. In her suit, she noted that the bank allowed Singh to leave with dignity, casting his departure as completely his own decision and saying it would be “sorry to see him go.”

Lindsey said she found that farewell email, sent by an executive she considered a mentor, demoralizing.

“It’s just this horrible feeling of ‘the boys’ club lives on,’” she said, adding, “It makes me question, ‘were people aware of it the whole time?’”

In a statement shortly after Lindsey’s suit was filed, Citigroup called Singh’s alleged conduct “deplorable” but said she had described him as “only a friend” when previously asked about their relationship. The bank said Singh resigned before an internal investigation into his conduct could be completed.

After Lindsey’s suit was filed though, the bank took the unusual step of communicating to all traders that they should act “decisively” if they see inappropriate behavior. “Part of everyone’s role in creating a culture of the highest standards involves stepping in at the moment we see something wrong,” Andy Morton, Citigroup’s global head of markets, said in a memo to staff seen by Bloomberg.

Wall Street ‘White Noise’
Lindsey’s lawsuit also describes a sexual assault by a superior when she first started at the bank and details numerous examples of a “boy’s club” culture at Citigroup’s equities group, including suggestive comments, traders mocking the firm’s sexual harassment policies and frequent outings to strip clubs. Higgins calls that sort of thing the “the white noise of Wall Street.”

For Lindsey, there was the added pressure of being held up as an example to other women even as she was putting up with the harassment and mistreatment she alleges in her lawsuit. She said she was the longest-serving of three leaders of Citigroup’s internal networking group for women, Recruit, Inspire, Support and Engage, or RISE.

She says women were expected to participate in groups like RISE in addition to their jobs. It was “one of the most rewarding experiences because it enabled me to work very closely with a lot of talented and powerful females,” Lindsey said. At the same time, however, she felt like “it was a lot of lip service that people cared about” helping women, but “there wasn’t a lot of support beyond that.”

Lindsey’s suit comes nearly three decades after Wall Street was first shaken by lawsuits alleging widespread sexual harassment and discrimination, including the infamous 1990s “boom-boom room” case Smith Barney Inc. settled for $150 million and, a few years later, a bias suit against Morgan Stanley led by bond saleswoman Allison Schieffelin. The $54 million settlement in that case was described by one judge as a “a watershed in safeguarding and promoting the rights of women on Wall Street” in 2004.

But Lindsey says it’s clear things haven’t changed enough. Since filing her suit, she said she’s received dozens of messages from both men and women within the firm, many lending support while others thanking her for voicing claims they haven’t felt able to come forward with themselves.

“My case can be an example to firms across Wall Street that, if you do not change how the culture is, people now have the ability to come forward and talk about it,” Lindsey said. “They can’t be silenced.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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