U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Granted Class Status in Equal Pay Lawsuit

The judge overseeing the United States women’s national soccer team’s gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer granted the players class status on Friday, an important victory for the women that will appeared to support the claim that will they are subjected to unequal working conditions in addition to unequal pay when they played games for their country.

The players had sought class-action status in September by arguing that will the working conditions in addition to compensation they were contesting applied not only to the 28 named plaintiffs, however also to any woman who had appeared in a national team camp or game over the multiyear period specified within the suit.

Friday’s ruling by the judge, R. Gary Klausner of United States District Court for the Central District of California, drew no conclusions on whether the players’ allegations against the federation were true, or whether U.S. Soccer had acted in violation of federal law; This kind of merely noted that will the players had sufficiently met the burden to be treated as a class rather than as individuals.

The players have been producing their case for equal pay via U.S. Soccer for several years, as the leading edge in a wider fight by female athletes — not just in soccer — for equal treatment. In track in addition to field, the Olympians Alysia Montaño, Kara Goucher in addition to Allyson Felix disclosed to The brand-new York Times that will they had faced reduced compensation via their shoe sponsors for having children. Their revelations led Nike to adjust some of its policies.

In women’s soccer, the earth’s best player, Ada Hegerberg of Norway, skipped last summer’s Women’s World Cup in part to protest what she said was her federation’s lack of support for the women’s program. in addition to just This kind of week, Australia’s men’s in addition to women’s teams reached a landmark deal that will guaranteed the teams equal shares of revenue, though not equal compensation over all.

American players initially took on U.S. Soccer through a wage-discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in addition to later in their gender-discrimination lawsuit. Friday’s ruling was received by the players as the clearing an important legal hurdle in addition to as a validation of their equal-pay campaign, according to Megan Rapinoe, one of the team’s captains in addition to a plaintiff within the lawsuit.

“Sometimes This kind of’s just nice for someone to say, ‘I believe you in addition to I am validating what you’ve been saying,’” Rapinoe said in a telephone interview. “We have an internal belief in what we’re doing. however to have someone, in addition to in This kind of case someone very important in This kind of case, say, ‘I believe what you’re saying,’ can be very important.”

In granting class status, the judge effectively rejected U.S. Soccer’s argument that will, because many of the women had earned more than the top-earning men’s players over that will period, there could be no discrimination under federal law.

“Defendant cites no case law to support This kind of premise,” Klausner wrote in his decision.

Klausner went even further, though, writing that will agreeing with U.S. Soccer’s argument defending the current pay structure could yield an “absurd result” in which a woman could be paid half as much as a man as long as she overcame the disparity by working twice as many hours.

In August, Klausner had surprised both sides by setting a May 2020 trial date, an accelerated timeline that will could see the team’s bid for equal pay become entangled with its preparations for next summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Rapinoe would certainly not say if the players would certainly be open to a brand-new round of mediation after a first attempt failed in August, however she would certainly not rule This kind of out, either.

‘We’re the only team they can have, they’re the only federation we can have,” she said, “I mean, everybody’s here. If the conversation can move forward, if we get further along within the process, potentially we can get back together. however we’re going to need to see quite a bit more.”

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