The maker of Budweiser is attempting to silence a former employee for speaking out in defense of consumers, according to the ex-worker's lawyer.
James Clark, a former director of operations and support for Budweiser-parent Anheuser-Busch, blew the whistle on his former employer in February by providing information for a class-action lawsuit claiming that the company was watering down some of its beer.
Now, Anheuser-Busch is suing Clark, claiming that he "improperly used and misrepresented our confidential information to instigate these lawsuits, all for his personal gain," according to a statement provided to The Huffington Post by Peter Kraemer, vice president of brewing and supply for Anheuser-Busch.
Clark’s attorney claims that Anheuser-Busch’s lawsuit should be dismissed, saying it is nothing more than an attempt to silence Clark and other former employees.
“[The lawsuit] is designed to silence Mr. Clark and to punish him for standing up for consumers in this country,” Clark’s attorney Robert Carichoff wrote in a March 29 court filing obtained by HuffPost. “To allow AB to proceed with this vindictive litigation would empower all employers to punish former employees like Mr. Clark for reporting misconduct…”
Carichoff did not respond to multiple requests for comment by HuffPost.
The class-action suit against Anheuser-Busch is based on information from former employees at 13 different breweries who claim that the beer maker waters down its products as a “simple cost-saving measure,” Josh Boxer, the lead attorney for the class action, told the Associated Press. The water added to the beer before it is bottled could cut the alcohol content of the product by as much as 8 percent, according to Boxer.
Anheuser-Busch disputes these claims.
"We would never compromise the quality or the taste of any of our beers for any reason," Kraemer wrote in a statement to HuffPost on Tuesday.
(h/t Bloomberg News)