Citigroup Exec Sues over Discrimination Allegations

October 25, 2005 ( - An Indian-born senior executive of Citigroup has slapped the world's largest bank with a lawsuit, claiming he was retaliated against by being underpaid and being denied promotions when he complained about discrimination.

Ramesh Menon, Citigroup’s head of US structured products, filed his lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan, Reuters reported. In his suit, Menon said Citigroup has since late 1997 “systematically and routinely” discriminated against him.

Menon said the bank demoted him in February to head of US structured products from head of global structured products, in response to his complaints to human resources officials, management and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about an “environment of discrimination” in his department. His Citigroup unit employs roughly 450 people.

The structured investments group, which Menon claimed in the suit that he was “instrumental” in creating, increased revenue more than 2,000% to $223.7 million last year from $11.1 million in 1998. Over that time, his annual bonus rose to $2.05 million from $500,000 and his annual salary to $200,000 from $150,000, the complaint said.

While Menon’s compensation is “not insubstantial,” it is “well below” industry norms, the lawsuit said.

Citigroup spokeswoman Christina Pretto said the bank will contest the lawsuit, which it believes lacks merit. She said Citigroup “is fully committed to fair employment practices, and to providing a respectful and professional work place free of discrimination.”

Menon, 43, is a naturalized US citizen born in India and of Indian descent. He joined New York-based Citigroup in 1996.