Several members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, recently filed a wage discrimination action against the U.S. Soccer Federation.
The wage discrimination allegations against the Soccer Federation were filed citing the numbers in the United States Soccer Federation’s 2015 financial report. Women’s team members are discouraged by the lack of fair pay or wages equal to the men’s soccer league. These women make on average 40 percent less than members of the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, and at the same time, they generate nearly $20 million more than the men’s team. For this reason, a discrimination complaint was filed with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
Alex Morgan: “Every single day, we sacrifice just as much as the men. We work just as much,” Morgan stated on the Today’s Show. “We endure just as much physically and emotionally. Our fans really do appreciate us every day for that. We saw that with the high of last summer. We’re really asking, and demanding now, that our federation, and our employer really, step up and appreciate us as well.”
Not to mention, the Women’s U.S Soccer Team made it to the World Cup finals, something the men’s team has yet to achieve. The U.S. women’s team won their third World Cup in 2015, and as a result, the championship game became the “most watched” soccer game in U.S. history for both men and women. If setting records is not enough to deserve a fair pay rate, then proper legal action must be taken to resolve wage discrimination.
Megan Rapinoe: “Recently, it has become clear that the Federation has no intention of providing us equal pay for equal work,” Rapinoe stated in a news release.
The union representing the players has been involved in a legal dispute with the U.S. Soccer Federation over the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. According to the players’ attorney, “[i]n early January, the Women’s National Team Players Association submitted a reasonable proposal for a new CBA that had equal pay for equal work as its guiding principle.” He continued, “U.S. Soccer responded by suing the players in an effort to keep in place the discriminatory and unfair treatment they have endured for years.”
Becky Sauerbrunn: “Where in this statement do they address, or even attempt to refute, the pay discrepancy? #equalplayequalpay @GrantWahl,” Sauerbrunn wrote on Twitter.
The numbers all boil down to women earning $99,000 each for the same thing the men would likely earn $263,320 in addition to receiving $100,000 more for the first 20 games even if they lost. The female players receive nothing for winning games, while the male players are paid between $5,000 to $17,625 per game after reaching the required 20 games.
Goalie for the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team Tim Howard told SportsCenter that the men’s team supports the women’s fight for fair wages.
Tim Howard: “We support the fact that the women should fight for their rights and fight for what they think is just compensation. We, on the men’s side, have been fighting that battle for a long, long time,” Howard said. “We certainly know what it feels like. We felt underpaid for a long time. We had to negotiate our way to a settlement.”
In the end, members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team are being paid substantially less than the members of the men’s team. After winning three World Cups and four Olympic championships, the women’s team is demanding to be treated like actual champions with fair wages.
Hope Solo: “I’ve been on this team now for a decade and a half, and I’ve been through numerous CBA negotiations. And honestly, not much has changed.” Solo told Matt Lauer on NBC’s the Today Show. “We continue to be told we should be grateful just to have the opportunity to play professional soccer and to get paid for doing it. And in this day and age, you know, it’s about equality. It’s about equal rights. It’s about equal pay. And we’re pushing for that. And we believe now the time is right, because we believe it’s a responsibility for women’s sports, and specifically for women’s soccer, to really do whatever it takes to push for equal pay and equal rights and to be treated with respect.”
President of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research Heidi Hartmann spoke to NPR about the differences in pay between men and women. Hartmann says the federal wage data shows a 21 percent gap between pay for men and women in the United States — anything from higher per diem, international trips, and bigger bonuses.
Wage discrimination is a common employment legal issue.
Are you or is someone you know being paid less because of your gender? It’s illegal to discriminate based on gender when it comes to wages. Contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., for a free confidential consultation.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.