Citigroup was accused in a lawsuit Wednesday of using companywide layoffs during the recent financial turmoil to purge its workforce of scores of female employees to save the jobs of less-qualified men.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan accused the company of accepting government bailout money even as it continued a pattern of “pervasive discrimination and retaliation” against female employees during the November 2008 layoffs. It also said women are paid less than men and often lose out on promotions, raises and good assignments.