National Beverage CEO Sued for ‘Inappropriate Touching’
Two pilots have filed separate lawsuits against National Beverage CEO Nicholas Caporella, 82, alleging the billionaire behind LaCroix touched them inappropriately on multiple occasions, according to The Wall Street Journal.
One lawsuit, filed in 2016 by pilot Terence Huenefeld, sought damages for a hostile work environment, abuse and sexual battery in claiming that Caporella had a “repeated pattern of unprovoked and unwanted sexual touching.” The lawsuit cites 18 occasions in which Caporella allegedly touched Huenefeld inappropriately. Huenefeld also claims he was told by his superior to “put up with it.” The case was settled earlier this year for an undisclosed sum.
The second case was filed in January 2017 by pilot Vincent Citrullo, who claims that Caporella touched him sexually 14 times between 2014 and 2015. The suit, which names Caporella, National Beverage, and Broad River Aviation Inc., also alleges labor law violations, claiming that Citrullo was required to work 83 weekend days and nights without compensation.
National Beverage denied the allegations against Caporella in a press release on Tuesday. The company said it had conducted an investigation and found the claims to be false.
“There is no truth to any of the allegations and nothing remotely akin to the alleged events occurred,” the company said in the release. “The allegations, which were lifted from employment-related lawsuits filed by two former associates, are contrary to the statements of many others who have known and flown with Mr. Caporella for decades. The Journal reporter chose to recklessly disregard documentary evidence that refuted the allegations that were the subject of the report.”
The allegations come during a period of increased awareness around sexual assault and harassment spurred by the #MeToo movement. While much of the public discussion has centered on the entertainment industry, the beverage industry has seen several similar cases over the past year. In October, Talking Rain was sued by a former employee who alleged she was sexually assaulted by ex-CEO Kevin Klock. In February, five former Monster Energy employees sued the company and went public about sexual harassment they said was rampant throughout the corporation.
Just Versus Just: Water and Vegan Mayo Brands Clash Over Trademark Dispute
Plant-based food company Just, Inc. (formerly known as Hampton Creek) is firing back against celebrity-backed water producer Just Goods, with whom they are currently engaged in a trademark lawsuit, accusing the company of deceptive practices.
Just Goods, which was co-founded by father/son acting duo Will Smith and Jaden Smith, filed suit against Just, Inc. last year when the company changed its name and packaging to increase the prominence of the word “Just” on its mayo, cookie dough, and salad dressing products. The water maker claimed the move was a violation of an existing agreement that established how each company could use the term ‘Just’ in product branding. However, Just, Inc. now says Just Goods has hastily tried to fabricate products that feature the “Just” brand name in an attempt to make “token use” of the name by relabeling existing food products from other manufacturers.
In a video presented in court and later sent to Business Insider, who reported on the dispute last week, Just, Inc. purchased Just Goods’ olive oil but demonstrated that the company had merely put its own label on top of another company’s product. Ken Hertz, attorney for Just Goods, told Buzzfeed that relabeling other products was “a common practice.” He has also asserted that Just, Inc. is attempting to steal the “Just” trademark.
California Bans New Soda Taxes
In a major victory for the beverage industry, California has approved a ban on new soda taxes through 2030. The assembly bill, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, retroactively blocks any new taxes from the beginning of 2018. The bill does leave intact taxes passed prior to 2018, including Berkeley and San Francisco.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the beverage industry contributed more than $7 million to a campaign to combat new soda taxes and lobbyists for The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo met with Gov. Brown. The bill was developed by the beverage industry in a compromise with labor unions seeking to avoid a combative campaign.
Report: Starbucks Has Long Way to Go for Racial Equity
It’s going to take more than a day of racial-bias training for Starbucks to achieve its “full-scale racial equity overhaul,” according to a report authored by Heather McGhee, distinguished senior fellow at Demos and Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-council of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The team served as advisers during Starbucks’ May 29 training, when the company closed 8,000 stores to address unconscious racism. The training day was the result of a nationwide outrage sparked when a manager in a Philadelphia-area Starbucks called the police on two African American men who were waiting in the store for an acquaintance.
According to The Washington Post, McGhee and Ifill said although the company has made several policy changes and introduced guidelines since the incident in Philadelphia, it will need to continue to address racial-bias at all levels of the business, including through further employee training.
“You have to take a racial-equity lens to all parts of the business, and that’s a science,” McGhee told the paper. “That involves data and assessments and monitoring and evaluation, and most importantly goal setting. So if they don’t know exactly what the dimensions are of bias and inequity in the corporation’s culture, then how can they develop training to address that?”