U.S. women's national soccer team pay discrimination claim
The lead section of this article may need to be rewritten. (September 2017)
Five women (Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, and Becky Sauerbrunn) who were members of the United States women's national soccer team filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing the United States Soccer Federation of wage discrimination in April 2016.
Separately, the Women's National Team Players Association filed a complaint in U.S. District court seeking to void an extension of its collective bargaining agreement with the United States Soccer Federation through the end of 2016. On July 3, 2016, the court ruled that the extension was valid and that the Players Association was bound by a no-strike provision in the agreement.
Despite substantial media pressure and allegations of discrimination and unfairness, the judge in the case ruled against the women players, and noted that they did not have a valid claim. It turns out that the women were in fact already paid more than the men ($220,747 per game for the women vs $212,639 per game for the men), and that the players filing suit were paid more than the four highest paid men's national team players. The judge also noted that the women were given the opportunity to accept the same contract as the men, and that the women's contract offered substantial benefits that the men's contract excluded, including a base salary, continuing payments to injured players, and severance pay.
The main complaints from the players involve claims of wage discrimination. The petitioners pointed out that men receive a $5,000 bonus for a loss in a friendly match, while women receive nothing for a loss or a draw. However, when the teams win, the men receive as much as $17,625, but women only receive $1,350. Further, in 2011, when the women placed second in their World Cup, they were awarded $1.8 million, split evenly among the 24 players on the team. The men's team made it only to the round of 16 that year; however, they were awarded $5 million. In 2014, when Germany won the Men's World Cup, the US team was awarded $35 million by FIFA, while the women received 5% of that for their Cup victory in 2015.       
In April 2017, the Players Association and the Federation negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement which may render the players' EEOC complaint moot. As of April 2017, the EEOC had not issued a decision.
In 2019, twenty eight members of the USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit. Their claims affects not only their paychecks but also where they play and how often, how they train, the medical treatment and coaching they receive, and even how they travel to matches. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles has scheduled a trial for Sept. 15 on the players’ remaining claim of discriminatory work conditions. In May 2020, Klausner summarily dismissed the unequal pay portion of the lawsuit.
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- Order of the Honorable R. Gary Klasuner, May 2, 2020
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