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Clydesdales pulling Budweiser wagon.
A 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?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon May 05, 2014 at 11:12 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  ZOMG Augie Busch a sexist (8+ / 0-)
    Unlike his father Gussie Busch, August III has been a lifelong supporter of the Republican Party, and a friend, ally, and financial supporter to Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and President George W. Bush. August III's eldest son, August A. Busch IV, is a strong supporter of Democratic Party politics, just like his grandfather Gussie.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Mon May 05, 2014 at 11:18:56 AM PDT

  •  "discrimination" has been turned into a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Piren

    dysphemism to our detriment. Discrimination is actually a positive capacity--the ability to differentiate one thing from another. Making the word serve as a catchall for the mindless antagonisms that pervade our society does a disservice because it obscures the fact that EXCLUSION is the really offensive act, regardless of whether it is preparatory to an attack.
    Why is it offensive? Because individuals attacking and chasing out members of their own species is really beneath contempt. Most other species don't sink that low. The only way it can be explained is as some aberration, some failure of the individual human to develop properly.
    One might say that such a person that turns on his own kind is developmentally retarded but, since they never seem to catch up and their cognitive capacities seem to be intact, it's more likely that some basic link between the brain stem and the cognitive centers is broken. So, what we've got is intelligent predators who prey on their own kind because they don't know any better. Our mistake is in letting them get away with it.

    by hannah on Mon May 05, 2014 at 12:39:57 PM PDT

  •  She will get a nice settlement if she has a good (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Penny GC, Piren, Calamity Jean


    In a court of law, the plaintiff can ask for disclosure of everything she's alleging; Busch is going to have to disclose and explain why their employment practices were or were NOT discriminatory.  Their explanation of Katz not being worth as much as Jacob doesn't hold water, even if Jacob was active in Civil Rights.

    Same job title - same rate of pay.  And we wonder why the Lily Ledbetter Paycheck Fairness Act was squelched by the Rethugs in Congress.  If that act is enacted into law by Congress, Busch is already in violation.

    "Washington, DC: Where Corruption is Rewarded, and Ethical Merit is DESPISED.

    by The Truth on Mon May 05, 2014 at 01:24:47 PM PDT

  •  That's quite a disparity to try to justify (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BMScott, Piren

    Same job title may not call for exactly the same pay, but it's hard to see how any combination of education, experience or other skills can explain his being worth 450% more.

    but in their mind it wasn't the "same job description"?

    While Katz's salary was benchmarked against other public relations executives at large companies, Jacob's salary was benchmarked at 50 percent of August Busch III's salary.

    Jacob said, "August depended on my council and advice. That was very unique…I did not believe August used anyone in the same capacity he used me."
    Busch told jurors, "He [Jacob] was a broad-based executive who had been on the board of Coca-Cola. He was on the board at Morgan Stanley, a big New York investment house. John Jacob knew every person in the United States that had anything to do with civil rights….He lead the community. He was a person you could not even put a value on. He could have made his own wages in our company…He was one in a million."

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Mon May 05, 2014 at 01:33:48 PM PDT

    •  here is the dilema (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, Carojay

      Corporations justify huge compensation packages for executives because they claim these executives are critical in generating profits. Without these executives shareholder value would decline a rate multiple time the value of the compensation package, and that would result in a lawsuit.

      But here we have a case where an executive was paid $4.5 million a year, and another executive was hired with the same job title but a different job description at $1 million a year.

      So here are the options.  The first would be that the job was divided, and there are other people in the company whose combined compensation would at least $4.5 million doing the same job.  Another possibility is that the original executive was given a bogus job description to justify a certain level of compensation, in which case $3.5 million dollars of shareholder value was squandered every year that this guy was paid.

      And here is why executive pay is such an issue. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the value to the company, but the implied intangible value to the company. At A&F, the sales staff is paid for the intangible value of being thin, young,and white. Evidently there is a intangible benefit for being male at other companies.

      •  Another possibility... (0+ / 0-) that Jacob did things above and beyond his job description because he had the background and skills to do so and he was compensated for that.

        Another possibility is that the company decided that they didn't need all of the job skills Jacob possessed so dropped the requirements.

        Or perhaps the company could not find (or felt they couldn't), a person meeting the previous job description's requirements so decided to be pragmatic and reduce the scope of the job (yes, possibly with a detriment in aggregate market cap in excess of the amortized pay difference).

        The point being, be careful when claiming "here are the options" as there are usually many others - esp. if one doesn't know a lot about the specific situation.

        Presumably the courts will sort this all out - that's what they are there for. If she asked to go on company sponsored hunting trips with similar level executives and was rejected, that's pretty damning. On the other hand, if a few execs who knew each other went hunting together on their own time and she was offended that she wasn't invited, she doesn't have a valid complaint in that dimension (esp. if other male execs were not invited also).

        Not all jobs are based on such factors as how many toilets the employee can clean an hour or how many bricks they can lay per hour. Some jobs require quite a bit of skill and mix of skills. I would, for example, imagine that the job description of every NFL starting quarterback is about the same -- yet there's no question that different QBs are very different in skill and contribute different value to their employers and their compensation tends to reflect that.

        Ask yourself, was Steve Jobs's job description that much different from that of any similar sized tech firm? Was he worth the same per year as all those with similar job descriptions? Could you reliably recruit and hire a CEO of Steve Jobs caliber (and, if so, why doesn't every tech firm have the success of Apple?)

        •  yes I inadvertantly limited the scope (0+ / 0-)

          But that there are other possibility does not change the conclusion.  The company paid someone 4.5X times as much for the same job title.  That person may have doing work the was 4.5X as valuable, but if all they have now is someone that works fro 75% of the original worker, the value to shareholder is called into question no matter what work the other person did.  Because we do not pay people for work, but for the real value they bring to the company.  That is the justification used for a cashier makes a small fraction of a c-level executive.

          And by the way, I think it is better to base arguments on facts than just trying to make broad statements.  For instance, I don't think I could hire anyone, even someone who was independently wealthy, for $1 a year.  Even if his reimbursed for normal expenses, as any employee might be, amounts to 10X what an average person might expect to make.  Compare this to Bill Gates who in 2004 received $900 million in salary and bonuses from MS. Much of this was clearly a result of being a founder, which is more of a justification than being paid to be a nice golfing buddy.

    •  So (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      what they are saying is that he was overpaid for his title and/or did more than his job/title required.

      Well, they should have promoted him/changed his title or been prepared to offer similar compensation to his replacement.

      Either way it doesn't look good for the company.  Either that were taking advantage of him by not giving him the correct title (and thus more money) that reflected his actual job.  Or they are taking advantage of her by not paying her what the title should earn.

      I would ask the company to pick one.

  •  You would think that a foreign owned (0+ / 0-)

    company would not allow this to happen.  I think Mr. Boche needs some family time away from the company.  Sounds like he has been hitting the sauce.

  •  sorry, Ms. Katz…. (0+ / 0-)

    …but its hard for me to sympathize with your claim that you got only $1 million a year in your job as a corporate flack when other other corporate flacks got more.


    •  You know what. I bet she worked goddamn hard (5+ / 0-)

      at her job. I bet the last word to describe her responsibilies was 'flack'. That's why the men made off by themselves and kept her away. I'd bet money she did the work, they took the credit. I see it too often in corporate America - more often than not women are putting twice the hours and twice the dedication to make less money. I'm not going to begrudge her getting paid $1m because in her case I bet she earned it and then some compared to her male counterparts.

      If I knew it was going to be that kind of party, I'd have stuck my ---- in the mashed potatoes! - Paul's Boutique

      by DoctorWho on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:18:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's all relative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      she'll open things up for other women regardless, because there is an overall problem all the way down to, believe it or not, children's allowances! (read this recently)

      •  Her having sued may, sadly, have the opposite... (0+ / 0-)

        Other firms, fearing a similar suit, may be less willing to give women such highly-ranked and compensated positions.
        (They could, of course, prevent same by, y'know, just compensating their women exec's as well as their men.  But that might not occur to them.)
        This observation does NOT suggest anything less than total support for her in her case...

        •  I'd think instead as you mention they'd just make (0+ / 0-)

          sure they pay women fairly.
          They still do gain a positive spin by hiring a woman-makes they look forward looking, modern, egalitarian, and more attractive (not literally) as a company.

    •  I don't agree with (0+ / 0-)

      that attitude.

      Because for us women on the lower end of the pay scale what happens at the top is important.

      If executive women can be treated like second class employees and not receive all the perks and pay that their male counterparts receive, then what hope for us on the bottom?

  •  Is this the person we're going to latch onto? (0+ / 0-)

    A millionaire didn't get paid fairly?

  •  No surprise (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, BYw, Carojay

    Yep.  It was very much a boys' club.  I worked closely with AB as an executive with their lead ad agency.  Sure, it's a beer company.  But that's no excuse for the way many, many of their male executives treated women... badly.  And AABIII was as much to blame for that culture as anyone.

    dissent not only welcome... but encouraged

    by newfie53523 on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:09:57 PM PDT

  •  More ALEC yuck.. (0+ / 0-)

    The males at Anheuser-Busch most likely viewed her executive position as strictly playing a vital supportive role.

    "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

    by Seattle Socialist on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:11:17 PM PDT

  •  she "wasn't worth as much" as her male (0+ / 0-)

    Looks like they thought she wasn't worth even 1/4 as much./snark

  •  What to these men (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask, BYw

    tell their daughters?

  •  If the company uniquely valued John Jacob (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Back In Blue, BYw, Carojay, EastcoastChick

    Then there should be evidence that Jacob was paid significantly more than his predecessor.

    •  And they should have documented these other (0+ / 0-)

      roles and responsibilities they are attributing to him now.  

      America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

      by Back In Blue on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:35:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One in a million. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BYw, Carojay

    Sounds like Jacob should be CEO.  I'm not clear exactly how having a civil rights leader impacts the bottom line of a beer company.  But it is clear that Busch values "who you are" far more than "what you do."  

    America, where a rising tide lifts all boats! Unless you don't have a boat...uh...then it lifts all who can swim! Er, if you can't swim? SHAME ON YOU!

    by Back In Blue on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:39:23 PM PDT

  •  Kinda torn here (0+ / 0-)

    On one hand, she deserved to be paid as much as any man

    On the other hand, I can't exactly weep that a CEO wasn't given millions and millions of dollars

    And on the subject of:

    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.
    Country Clubs and golf aren't used to ONLY discriminate against women.

    Think of all the other minorities that in the past have been rejected from country clubs!

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Tue May 06, 2014 at 07:57:23 PM PDT

  •  Not always cut and dry (0+ / 0-)

    Kansas State just hired a new women's basketball coach.  The previous one - female - was let go (fired) for not winning enough.  And before you get spun up about women getting crappy dumpster fire jobs, she was at the school for 18 years and had built a great program but it was in decline and the administration decided it was time to go a different direction.  The final year of her contract she was paid about $800K.  The new coach - male - is going to be paid $375K his first year.  

    Job description - identical.
    Duties - identical.
    Challenges - more.  He wasn't hired because the team was doing great.
    Pay - 50%

    Difference?  One employee had 18 years of building up a track record with performance bonuses and and other intangibles.  The other has yet to coach a game wearing Purple (ok, technically not true since he came from TCU but theirs is purple not Purple).

    As for the golfing and hunting - I assume she golfs and hunts.  Because if she doesnt, not getting invited is not only not a crime, its appropriate.  But instead of protesting that you were not offered the opportunity to extend work into leisure time by going golfing, why not ask why we are making work all encompassing?  The absolute last thing I want to do when I am not working is hang out with my boss and work some more.  If playing golf and hunting is essential for moving ahead at work, its work.  I feel bad for the shareholders of companies that choose leaders by their golfing and hunting skills unless that company happens to be in the golfing and hunting business.  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Wed May 07, 2014 at 03:57:31 AM PDT

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