The U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) has avoided a trial over four issues with the U.S. Soccer Federation as part of the team’s 2019 lawsuit alleging gender discrimination.
As part of the settlement, U.S. Soccer has agreed to put new policies in place to improve the players’ working conditions, specifically hotel accommodations, travel, venues and staffing.
USWNT to appeal ruling over unequal pay
Team members filed a $66 million lawsuit citing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act. The settlement does not address the claim over unequal pay, which was dismissed in May by a judge who ruled the players’ collective bargaining agreement (CBA) agreed to waive higher bonuses for more benefits.
The judge also decided team members cannot “retroactively” declare that their CBA is less favorable than the one in place for the U.S. men’s national team. However, a spokesperson for the USWNT says the team plans to appeal that ruling, stating that the Federation has not addressed the central issue – that women players are paid less than men for the same job.
The USWNT suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in March of 2019, and it was granted class-action status later that year, meaning those who played for the team after February 2015 can be included. While both sides see the settlement as a positive step, the fight appears to be far from over.
Gender discrimination is illegal in California
In addition to federal protections, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits sex and gender discrimination. FEHA provides greater protection than Title VII, as it applies to companies with five or more employees.
Under FEHA, employers cannot discriminate against anyone due to gender, sex, gender expression or gender identity. Discrimination comes in many ways, including paying someone less for equal work, harassment, termination, not hiring someone or retaliation for those making legal claims.
If you experience discrimination of any kind, it’s advisable to work with an experienced attorney who understands the complex state and federal laws that protect workers. Your lawyer will thoroughly review your case and file charges with the appropriate agency or agencies.