Soccer fans in California and throughout the country generally acknowledge that the women’s national team has had more success than the men’s team. However, the women’s team has filed a gender discrimination claim against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF). The lawsuit claims that the USSF has violated both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by not paying female players on par with male players.
However, the USSF says that the pay disparity is based on the fact that each team collectively bargained separate deals for themselves. Therefore, any disparity in pay is based on legitimate business decisions as opposed to institutionalized gender discrimination. Furthermore, the USSF claims that differences in pay are based on differences in revenue generated by the men’s team compared to those generated by the women’s team. The collective bargaining agreement for the women’s national team runs through 2021.
While the most recent deal did include a pay raise and additional benefits for the players, the exact terms are not available to the public. According to a spokesperson for the team, the USSF cannot absolve itself of gender discrimination claims by claiming that each deal was negotiated separately. Prior to filing the current lawsuit, five players filed a wage discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
If a woman is paid less than a male counterpart performing a similar function, it could be an example of gender discrimination. It may be possible to file a complaint with the EEOC or an eventual lawsuit to remedy the problem. In some cases, employees may be entitled to back pay or other damages from their employers. An attorney may be able to help resolve the matter either in court or through negotiations.