Mizuho Bank was sued by a former New York-based vice president, who claims he faced discrimination as a non-Japanese worker.
(Bloomberg) — Mizuho Bank was sued by a former New York-based vice president, who claims he faced discrimination as a non-Japanese worker.
David Kurtanidze filed a complaint Tuesday in state court in Manhattan, naming the third-largest Japanese bank and three of his managers as defendants. Kurtanidze claims that, despite excellent performance and credentials, including prior stints at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse AG, he was denied promotions at Mizuho and treated differently from Japanese staffers.
He is seeking at least $10 million in damages. A spokesperson for Mizuho didn’t have an immediate comment on the suit.
Kurtanidze, who joined the bank’s finance change group in 2017, said his group head “spent most of his time with Japanese employees and rarely acknowledged non-Japanese employees.” He described another manager as being “very respectful and friendly to Japanese employees and blatantly disrespectful and cold to non-Japanese employees.”
According to the suit, much of the discrimination surfaced in response to Kurtanidze’s request for extended paternity leave after the 2019 birth of his third child. Kurtanidze claims a manager told him that his child’s birth “caused a lot of inconvenience” for the bank and that his request was viewed very negatively because Japanese workers rarely took leave.
The manager “told plaintiff that he should take courses on how to become ‘more like a Japanese employee,’” Kurtanidze claims.
He claims he continued to face discrimination after that, was denied a reasonable accommodation over a wrist injury and was forced to come to the office at the height of the Covid pandemic despite the New York state order to work from home at the time. Kurtanidze said he was fired in 2021.
In a separate case, Mizuho Securities USA was sued in 2021 for discrimination by four non-White employees, who claimed they were underpaid and subject to racist comments. Mizuho has denied the allegations of that suit, which remains ongoing in Manhattan federal court.
The case is Kurtanidze v. Mizuho Bank, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).
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