More than two dozen soccer players for the U.S. women’s national team have settled certain gender discrimination claims against the U.S. Soccer Federation, according to court papers filed Tuesday in Los Angeles.
The civil complaint, filed in March 2019 in federal court, alleged that the women’s team was subject to “institutionalized gender discrimination,” including violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The plaintiffs sought over $66 million in damages.
The 28 plaintiffs include stars such as Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, as well as reserve players.
In May, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner rejected allegations that the women were systematically underpaid by U.S. Soccer, but allowed claims of discriminatory working conditions to go forward. As a result of the settlement, the female players will receive the same flights, hotel rooms and staff support as the men’s national team.
The rejected equal pay claims are expected to be reviewed by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone released a statement calling the settlement “an important and welcomed moment for U.S. Soccer and the Women’s National Team players.”
Cone said that earlier this year, she took on the role as U.S. Soccer president, and shortly afterward, a new CEO was hired.
“We, and the rest of the leadership team at U.S. Soccer, are focused on taking a new approach at the Federation in handling all matters,” she said. “I believe our approach helped us reach this agreement and demonstrates the commitment of U.S. Soccer’s new leadership to find a new way forward with the (women’s national team). This settlement is good news for everyone and I believe will serve as a springboard for continued progress.”
According to the 24-page complaint, USSF “utterly failed to promote gender equality. It has stubbornly refused to treat its female employees who are members of the WNT equally to its male employees who are members of the (men’s national team).”
The players sought equitable pay, wage adjustments, back pay and special damages for lost compensation.
Cone said that as a former women’s team player, “I can promise you that I am committed to equality.”
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