Friday, July 3, 2020

Federal Judge dismisses US women’s national soccer team’s equal pay claim

On Friday, Federal Judge R. Gary Klausner dismissed a part of the equal pay lawsuit brought by the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The lawsuit alleged wage discrimination on the part of the U.S. soccer federation.

The lawsuit was filed in February asking for $67 million in damages in lieu of the trial. According to the lawsuit female players claim that they have not been paid when compared to their male counterparts, citing the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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U.S. district judge R. Gary Klausner issued a 32-page decision on Friday, partially granting the federation’s request. In his judgment, Klausner rejected the equal pay act of the lawsuit. However, claims regarding the federation’s use of charted planes, hotel accommodations, medical support services, and training support services based on the Civil Rights Act were allowed to go on trial. The trial is scheduled on June 16, according to the Associated Press.

According to Klausner, he won’t allow the equal pay allegation to go forward because the women’s national team previously “rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the men’s national team.

“The history of negotiations between the parties demonstrates that the WNT [women’s national team] rejected an offer to be paid under the same pay-to-play structure as the MNT [men’s national team], and the WNT was willing to forgo higher bonuses for benefits, such as greater base compensation and the guarantee of a higher number of contracted players,” Klausner wrote in his 32-page judgment.

“Accordingly, plaintiffs cannot now retroactively deem their CBA [collective bargaining agreement] worse than the MNT CBA by reference to what they would have made had they been paid under the MNT’s pay-to-play terms structure when they themselves rejected such a structure,” he explained.

A spokesperson for the team, Molly Levinson sent out a tweet after the judgment stating they were “shocked and disappointed with the decision”. She also said that they are confident with their case and will continue to fight.

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What U.S soccer federation claimed

According to the US soccer federation has claimed that the women team was paid under the structure the players asked for. The contract players “asked for very different contract” that offered more benefits which the men’s team don’t have. The contract guaranteed annual salaries, medical and dental insurance, paid child-care assistance, paid pregnancy and parental leave, severance benefits, salary continuation during periods of injury, access to a retirement plan, multiple bonuses, and more.

How the team players reacted

USWNT players also responded to the ruling. Co-Captain and forward Megan Rapinoe, tweeted, “WE will never stop to fight for EQUALITY.”

Rapinoe has been the spearhead of the team’s fight for equal pay.

The captain of the WNT, Alex Morgan, also tweeted, “Although disappointing to hear this news, this will not discourage us in our fight for equality.”

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