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U.S. Women’s Soccer Team files employment discrimination claim

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency of the federal government that receives and decides employment discrimination complaints in California and all other jurisdictions in the country. Persons claiming employment discrimination generally start by filing a claim with the EEOC, often under the direction and auspices of their employment law attorneys. In rare cases, the EEOC itself will sponsor and pursue an important claim on behalf of discrimination victims in the federal courts.

A recent case of international interest was filed by five accomplished members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. The claim states that each of the five women are employees and soccer players for the United States Soccer Federation and are members of the United States Women’s Soccer Team. They complain that they are not paid as much as their male counterparts merely because of their gender. The filing is a form of class action in that the women are asking for relief also for other members of the women’s team.

The claimants expressed that the timing was right to equalize pay scales between men and women. For one thing, the team just came off of winning a World Cup Championship and has obtained three World Cup Championships and four Olympic Championships. The pay scale favors the men, who are paid much more merely because they are men, according to the claimants.

An EEOC fact-finding procedure will be implemented, including the holding of one or more meetings to hear the women’s claims and determine whether there  has been illegal discrimination against the women. The claim asserts that the women have suffered employment discrimination because of their gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act. It claims that they are paid only 40 percent of what the men make for the same job duties. The federal laws alleged are the same laws that protect women nationally, including in California, from pay discrimination due to sex.  

Source: USA Today, “Five women’s players file wage discrimination complaint against U.S. soccer“, A.J. Perez, April 6, 2016