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Woman Accuses Anheuser-Busch, Supervisor of Discrimination

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

An Anheuser-Busch bottler has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the company and a male supervisor of years of gender discrimination, sexual battery and false imprisonment.

In a complaint filed last Friday, Elizabeth Haskell of Hollywood sued the brewery for an unspecified amount.

A spokesman for Anheuser-Busch declined to comment, saying the company does not discuss pending litigation. The supervisor named in the lawsuit, Louis Stepter, could not be reached for comment.

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Haskell began working at the brewery in March 1990, earning $7 an hour as a bottler. Over the years her supervisor allegedly made vulgar comments, masturbated in front of her, fondled her, and demanded that she have sex with him.

After Haskell refused his advances, the supervisor threatened to fire her, then ordered her to work alone in isolated areas of the plant, the lawsuit alleges.

As further punishment for her refusal to have sex with the supervisor, Haskell was denied an opportunity to move up to a higher paying position, the lawsuit alleges.

In a Nov. 5, 1995, incident described in the lawsuit, the supervisor allegedly ordered Haskell to join him on a platform overlooking a work area. As she climbed the stairs leading to the platform, he stood on a step above her, grabbed her by the shoulders, and thrust his crotch area in her face. The lawsuit alleges that he held her in that position against her will for several minutes.

In another incident, the supervisor allegedly told Haskell that he would no longer be attracted to her if she gained weight. Haskell subsequently gained 30 pounds, because she believed it was the only way to prevent the harassment, the lawsuit alleges.

In March of this year Haskell reported the incidents to company officials. According to the lawsuit, shop stewards failed to investigate and did nothing to prevent the harassment.

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The lawsuit also alleges slander, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Times correspondent Maki Becker contributed to this story.

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