Citibank Executive Says Age Blocked Promotion to Director

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By Patrick Dorrian

A former Citibank executive in his 60s was assigned director-level responsibilities in his Hong Kong-based division yet was repeatedly passed over for official promotion in favor of substantially younger and less-qualified colleagues, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York ( Frisinger v. Citibank, N.A. , S.D.N.Y., No. 1:17-cv-06030, complaint filed 8/9/17 ).

Kim Frisinger says some of the younger employees received executive training and grooming, including one program on the subject of promotion, before being selected as directors. That executive training was by invitation only, Frisinger says, and he was never invited despite his repeated efforts to advance in the bank’s Asia Pacific financial crimes prevention unit.

Frisinger was fired soon after asking a regional division head about an open director position, allegedly because his dual role leading anti-money laundering and discovery analytics compliance in the Asia Pacific investment banking division was being eliminated. But Citibank later hired a 30-year-old who lacked experience to assume one of Frisinger’s positions and one of the younger workers Frisinger had been passed over for in his bid to become a director assumed Frisinger’s other functions, the complaint alleges. The lawsuit was filed Aug. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The managers who ignored Frisinger’s requests to discuss his career development and promotion chances were themselves in their early-to-mid 40s, the complaint says. Frisinger’s promotion prospects should have been discussed as a matter course during his performance evaluations—which were always excellent—but weren’t, he says.

“We believe the claims alleged are without merit and intend to vigorously defend against them,” Citibank spokesman Mark Costiglio told Bloomberg BNA in an Aug. 10 email.

Lawsuit Alleges Bias Was Willful

Frisinger had a “distinguished 40-year career as a global risk management professional specializing” in financial crime investigations and compliance issues, according to the complaint. A U.S. citizen, he joined Citibank’s Hong Kong office in May 2013. His discharge in May 2016 violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the complaint charges.

Citibank’s violations of federal law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on age were willful, entitling him to double damages for the personal financial loss and emotional pain and suffering he experienced, the lawsuit asserts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Dorrian in Washington at pdorrian@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bna.com

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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