Anheuser-Busch discrimination suit trial begins

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – It’s the queen of beer, versus the king of beer. A high-profile sex discrimination case pitting a former top Anheuser-Busch executive against the brewery began Monday.

Reporter Elliot Weiler has a preview of a trial that has tongues wagging.

This is the case of Francine Katz versus AB and it could provide a glimpse into what Katz claims was an old boy, fraternity party-like culture at the brewery.

Katz was the highest ranking female executive at AB. She worked there for more than 20 years, rising to Vice President of Communications and Consumer Affairs.

Katz claims she was paid far less than her male counterparts. She says when she complained to August Busch the third, he called her ungrateful.

But it wasn’t until AB was sold to InBev in 2007 that Katz says she learned the full extent of the pay disparities. According to regulatory and court filings, Katz says her salary was 46-percent less than the man she replaced, and her stock options were less generous as well.

AB denies all the allegations, saying the claims are false and unjustified.

The witness list is a who’s who of former top executives at the brewery, including August Busch the III and the IV, as well as Patrick Stokes and David Peacock. All of those men at the very top leadership levels of AB before the InBev takeover.

Saint Louis Post-Dispatch business reporter Lisa Brown was in the courtroom Monday as jury selection got underway, with testimony expected to begin later this week.

Lisa Brown says: Lisa Brown I`m sure they are going to bring a lot of emails and correspondence that`s going to show the relationship between the people in the workplace and the tenor of the conversation in the workplace and that could help or hurt Francine Katz`s case; we`ll see

The trial is expected to last about three weeks. You can follow Lisa’s coverage in the Post. And of course we’ll be covering the trial as well at FOX2 and FOX2now.com.

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Email:  elliot.weiler@tvstl.com

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