Woman Discovers Glass Ceiling is Big Ol' Bottle of Budweiser

Oct 27, 2009 at 2:43 pm
Not all ladies are so wild  on about Budweiser.
Not all ladies are so wild on about Budweiser.
Francine Katz thought her 2002 promotion to Vice President of Communications and Consumer Affairs at Anheuser-Busch was her ticket to untold riches as an executive of a major corporation.

Instead, Katz claims she received compensation worth just a fraction of what A-B paid her predecessor. The pay disparity continued despite complaints she made to the brewer's top executives, including August Busch III and August Busch IV.

In a discrimination lawsuit filed today in St. Louis Circuit Court, Katz alleges that a corporate culture akin to a "locker room and frat party atmosphere" at Anheuser-Busch (now AB-InBev) adversely impacts female managers such as herself.

Katz is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages she claims she's entitled to as a result of the alleged discrimination.

In the suit, Katz maintains she was paid just $500,000 in compensation when she was first promoted to the job. Meanwhile, her predecessor -- John Jacob -- earned $1.25 million prior to his retirement.

Francine Katz (far left) hosting a United Way event. - www.uwbb.org
Francine Katz (far left) hosting a United Way event.
When Katz complained about the pay, she alleges that Busch III told her she was being ungrateful and could have been paid less.

(A curious aside: About year after her conversation with Busch III, Katz went on to defend the brewer in a suit alleging sexism and homophobia in which A-B was accused of placing "Queen of Carbs" decals on packages of Miller Lite.) 

Anyhoo, after five years on the job, Katz claims her 2007 salary and bonus were still worth only around 46 percent ($575,000) of what Jacobs had earned previously. Katz states in the suit that she then tried to schedule a meeting with Busch IV, but the then CEO of Anheuser-Busch ignored her requests.