Queen of beer vs. king of beer

ST. LOUIS - The sex discrimination case filed by former Anheuser-Busch executive Francine Katz goes to trial on Monday.

Sources tell NewsChannel 5 the witness list includes August Busch III, August Busch IV, former CEO Patrick Stokes, and former President David Peacock.

Katz was the highest ranking woman at the brewery. Her suit claims when she was promoted in 2002, she was given the same duties as the retiring John Jacob but not the same pay. Over her six years as vice president of Corporate Communications and Consumer Affairs, she claims she was paid roughly half what her male predecessor earned, and far less than other members of the company's Strategy Committee.

Saint Louis University Law Professor Marcia McCormick has been following the case for years. Her expertise is in labor and gender discrimination law.

"The fact that she made it through that glass ceiling and was respected in some context didn't change the culture, at least that is what her complaint has been…That this was a frat boy kind of culture and the fact that she was there didn't mean she was taken seriously. She was alone and they didn't change the way they were doing business otherwise," said McCormick.

The suit claims John Jacob made $1.25 million in 2001, and when Katz took over his duties she was paid $500,000.

By 2007, the suit claims she still was paid 46 percent of what Jacob earned.

A spokesperson for Anheuser Busch-InBev sent the following statement:

"Anheuser-Busch strongly believes Francine Katz's claims are false and unjustified and the facts and evidence presented at trial will prove that she was treated and compensated fairly.

"Ms. Katz was always paid generously during her 20 years of employment at Anheuser-Busch. Her compensation was determined through a fair, rigorous and gender-blind process, which involved outside independent compensation experts.

"Anheuser-Busch has always been and will always be committed to treating our employees fairly and consistent with the highest standards."

Jury selection begins Monday and the case is expected to last three weeks.


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