Skip to main content

After concluding deliberations which began yesterday afternoon, a jury found in favor Anheuser-Busch in a pay discrimination case brought by the company's former executive, Francine Katz:

Katz, an attorney who worked at A-B from 1988 until Belgian brewer InBev acquired the company in 2008, alleged in her lawsuit filed in 2009 that she was underpaid because of her gender.

The trial in St. Louis Circuit Court, which stretched over three weeks, drew broad interest, in part, because the allegations focused on the actions of top executives at one of the city's most storied corporations. It also offered a look at how women who climbed the corporate ladder at Anheuser-Busch were treated.

Thirty witnesses testified, including former CEOs August Busch III and his son, August Busch IV. Jurors heard about promotions and pay, golf outings and hunting lodges, job titles and corporate practices.

In the end, nine jurors — five women and four men — found Katz had failed to make her case.

Katz's claim was based on the Missouri Human Rights Act's prohibition against discrimination based on gender. As the article states, Katz's compensation in 2007 was still only 46% of that of her male predecessor's.

There is a lot that could be said about the issues involved in this case and how those issues and the general attitudes people have toward the case given the parties involved represent a microcosm of America today, but I'll leave for others to expound. Regardless of the result, the case helped bring the issue into the local and national conversation and shed light on an issue many women, regardless of their position in the workplace, face in their careers. It's an issue that is not going to go away anytime soon, either, with the information that is coming to light surrounding the New York Times' decision to dissmiss Jill Abramson, the newspaper's first female executive editor, and the midterm elections coming up this fall.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  The Five could not be convinced, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    interesting.  Maybe there was no there  there.

  •  Can't comment on the case because this is the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, annominous

    first I've heard of it, but I do have to wonder.

    What would it take for a company to make that differentiation - Pay a successor less than half of what they paid the person previously performing that job?

    In terms of fewer qualifications, less experience, etc, when compared to the prior person in that position, for the company to hire this woman, making it clear they believed her qualified to do at least an adequate job, in the end, a job she held for over 10 years, how could it be that she was worth less than half of what they paid the previous guy?

    How does that work?

    •  If the higher paid person were the woman, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you'd likely shrug this off and attribute it to differences in ability or former accomplishments. But because it's the woman who is paid less, it becomes impossible to imagine any possible reason than sexism. I think it's great that we live in a country where women who think they've been the victims of sexism can have their day in court. And when they are right, I hope they win. This woman had more than her day in court, and she lost.

      •  You assume much about me. (0+ / 0-)
        This woman had more than her day in court, and she lost.
        In Missouri. Or do you also not know that state's history of devaluing anyone not a white male?
        •  One could say that about every state in the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          union, as well as about the union itself. She lost 9-0, it's pretty clear Anhesuer Busch made a convincing counterargument as to why she was paid less.

          Pay discrimination is more an issue at smaller companies. Giant companies like AB have so many employees and such a structured salary system, it would be egregious and incredibly easy to detect if women were making less than men at the same levels/positions across the company.

    •  The link is to a very informative article (0+ / 0-)

      Apparently while she and her predecessor had the same title, they didn't have the same job.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Fri May 16, 2014 at 09:43:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I find it hard to have sympathy.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1918, alx9090

    for any discrimination story that involves "executives". You know, they are the ones who are involved in screwing everyone below them, they actually can negotiate their salaries and benefits, they could move to another job, and by the way, they probably make a shitload of money.

    I reserve my support for those who are fighting for enough money to survive. Raise the minimum wage, no lower minimum for tipped workers, no wage theft, no sweatshops at Wal-mart and Amazon, etc.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Fri May 16, 2014 at 08:23:39 PM PDT

    •  As you note KR - she made an average of $1 million (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Karl Rover, slipper

      a year of total compensation. This wasn't someone just trying to make ends meet.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Fri May 16, 2014 at 09:40:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I understand your position (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Flying Goat

      On the other hand, I think the issue of executive pay and equal pay between men and women are separate issues. Just because an executive makes a lot of money doesn't mean that executive shouldn't be paid equally for their job compared to their similarly situated peers.

      It is also encouraging to see those on the higher ends of the pay scale publicize and push the issue and be willing to go to court. Their position better enables them to try and enforce the laws regarding equal pay, and their cases could cause a ripple effect where lower paid workers see that yes, there is a problem, and yes, there might be something to do about it. It could also force companies to bring themselves into compliance for fear of a greater number of lawsuits from a greater number of workers.

      •  I see it the opposite way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karl Rover

        When a millionaire sues about not making enough money, and then loses 9-0, it could make people roll their eyes at pay discrimination when perhaps there are more legitimate cases at the lower level that are ignored.

    •  While perhaps not the most sympathetic of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      victims, the fact is that discrimination is discrimination.

      And this just shows how stacked the deck is when trying to prove pay discrimination, even when you have a lot of resources.  Even if you don't care about her, a loss for equal pay is a loss for equal pay (Assuming the case actually had merit, of course - I'm not familiar with the particulars, though I have yet to see an equal pay case that did not).

  •  It's something of a Catch-22... (0+ / 0-)

    Executive earning high-six-figure or seven-figure salaries have a tough time earning sympathy from jurors, especially if said jurors are earning salaries of substantially smaller size.

    However, those high-paid plaintiffs are usually the ones who can most easily afford the legal costs to initiate a lawsuit.

    So, we get high-profile cases involving executives and precious little attention paid to the rank-and-file women who, in many cases, are in desperate need of equal pay.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Sat May 17, 2014 at 10:04:12 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site