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Former Top Woman at Anheuser-Busch Sues for Sex Discrimination

May 6th, 2014 | Laura Clawson

Laura ClawsonA former Anheuser-Busch executive is suing the company for gender discrimination, and the company’s response is that she wasn’t worth as much as her male predecessor. Francine Katz, who was, as Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of communications and consumer affairs, its top female executive, discovered that while she was paid about $1 million a year in total, her predecessor, John Jacob, had been paid $4.5 million a year. Anheuser-Busch’s defense is basically that Katz just happened to be worth that much less than Jacob, despite holding the same job title:

On Friday afternoon, August Busch III took the stand, verbally sparring with a member of Katz’s legal team as he recounted the company’s methods for paying top executives. Circuit Judge Rex Burlison twice admonished Busch for not being more cooperative.Busch heaped praise on Jacob, a civil rights leader whom he called “one in a million.”

“He had credentials that were unbelievable,” Busch said. “There was no comparison between John Jacob and Francine Katz.”

Katz’s suit also includes allegations that she was excluded from golf tournaments and hunting trips and, on one occasion, made to fly on a different plane than Busch and other top executives. She was not, in other words, allowed to develop the kind of connections and skills Busch claims to have uniquely valued in John Jacob. Such exclusion is a key way discrimination happens—women aren’t included in “social” events because women are assumed not to hunt or play golf or because the boys won’t get to be boys with a girl around, but those social events are key ways people build trust. And remember, Katz was the woman in the highest position at Anheuser-Busch. She was still excluded from the boys’ club, and she’s still being told to this day that she wasn’t worth equal pay. What does that say about other women’s chances?

This article was originally printed on the Daily Kos on May 5, 2014.  Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Laura Clawson is the labor editor at the Daily Kos.

 

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