US Women’s Soccer Gets Court Approval for Landmark Equal Pay Deal: 3 Steps for Employers to Strengthen Pay Policies | Fisher Phillips

The United States Women‘s National Soccer Team (USWNT) is set to receive a $24 million payout now that a federal judge has given preliminary approval to the settlement of current and former team members with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). The judge’s Aug. 11 order is the latest development stemming from a lawsuit filed by a class of female athletes in March 2019 alleging gender-based discrimination in the form of unequal pay. The settlement may be historic, but pay equity claims are not unique to athletes, especially as pay equity and pay transparency laws gain momentum at the national and local level. . Here’s a brief history of the lawsuit, along with three steps you should consider taking to strengthen your compensation policies and practices.

A victory for women’s football

After months of battle in court and in the public eye, this dispute reached a first conclusion in February 2022, with the parties reaching what was considered an unprecedented settlement. The settlement includes $22 million in back pay for the athlete class and $2 million for class members to pursue their post-play career goals and charitable efforts involving women’s and women’s soccer, according to the order.

Another feature of the settlement was realized in May 2022 when the USWNT agreed to a groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement with the USSF. The deal – which is considered the first of its kind in women’s sports – guaranteed the USWNT identical pay and bonuses to the U.S. men’s national team and contained a provision that would pool the two teams’ prize money to be split. also. This agreement was seen as the true settlement victory for the USWNT despite the large backlog of wages.

As expected, the terms of the settlement were approved by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California last week. According to the filing, the USSF made its first of four $5.5 million filings on June 1, 2022, and a hearing for final settlement approval is scheduled for December. The $22 million retroactive reimbursement fund will be shared by all women who were members of the national soccer team between June 11, 2015 and November 8, 2019.

3-step plan for pay equity

The USWNT’s fight for equality has garnered national attention and will likely spur action and review of employee compensation in workplaces at all levels. You should use this news to urge you to take the following steps and ensure that your own workplace compensation policies comply with the law:

  1. Evaluate your compensation data to identify compensation gaps.
    An audit of compensation practices is an essential first step in any compliance effort. Review your compensation policies and salary determinations to ensure organizational decisions are properly documented. Identify pay differences between genders and other classifications. Make adjustments or be able and willing to justify any disparities based on legitimate factors such as location, education or training.
  2. Implement compensation practices designed to comply with the increasing requirements of new laws and regulations.
    Pay equity laws are complex, demanding and vary from state to state. They can be subject to substantial penalties. Train management-level employees, HR personnel, and compliance experts responsible for determining and monitoring employee compensation and ensure they understand the mandates of federal equal pay law and the applicable national and local laws.
  3. Raise awareness and train your managers.
    Failure to comply with pay equity laws can be costly, and the defense costs alone can be exorbitant. Often the best defense is a good offense – and organizations can do a lot to protect themselves by understanding the law. This is especially true in the area of ​​pay equity where there are significant differences between federal and state legislation. Additionally, recent legislation mandating pay transparency and posting requirements places significant obligations on companies.


Fisher Phillips maintains a comprehensive pay equity map detailing the various state pay equity laws across the country so you can quickly check the lay of the land in your state.

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