USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit granted class action status

11 November 2019 |
USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit granted class action status
The United States women’s national team (USWNT) have been given a boost in their ongoing equal pay lawsuit against US Soccer after being granted class certification by a California district court.

The ruling means that any woman who featured in a USWNT squad over the period specified in the lawsuit – dating back to 4th February 2015 – is eligible to seek injunctive relief, back pay and damages from their own governing body.

The certification also names Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn as class representatives.

US Soccer had previously filed a motion opposing the USWNT’s request to certify the gender discrimination lawsuit as a class action. However, the court ruled that the plaintiffs had ‘offered sufficient proof’ that the federation had failed to provide the USWNT with equal working conditions, hence allowing the players to argue their case as a group and enabling any players to opt in to the class.

‘This is a historic step forward in the struggle to achieve equal pay,’ USWNT spokesperson Molly Levinson said in a statement. ‘We are so pleased that the court has recognised USSF's ongoing discrimination against women players - rejecting USSF's tired arguments that women must work twice as hard and accept lesser working conditions to get paid the same as men.

‘We are calling on Carlos Cordeiro to lead USSF and demand an end to the unlawful discrimination against women now.’

The California court ruling is the latest chapter in a fallout dating back to May, when the USWNT filed the gender discrimination lawsuit seeking equal pay and working conditions.

The two parties agreed to enter into mediation talks in June in an attempt to resolve the issue and avoid a battle in federal court, but those negotiations broke down in August as the USWNT claimed that US Soccer showed no willingness to address the current pay structure.

US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro further fractured the federation’s relations with the FIFA Women’s World Cup champions at the end of July when he issued an open letter and accompanying fact sheet claiming the country’s female national team players were paid more than their male counterparts between 2010 and 2018. The USWNT responded by labelling the financial analysis as ‘utterly false’.

The case is currently scheduled to go to trial on 5th May 2020.

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