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Update: U.S. Women's National Soccer Team's fight for pay equity

Regular readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog will recall that back in June we wrote about the fight for pay equity waged by the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT). The team was then battling for another World Cup title on the field and equal pay off of the field. Since then, of course, the team led by Megan Rapinoe and former University of Wisconsin star Rose Lavelle won its fourth FIFA championship.

This is a good time for an update on the gender discrimination lawsuit the players filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) earlier this year in federal court.

One of the keys to victory in court for the women's team will be establishing a prima facie case under the Equal Pay Act by showing the following:

  • Their employer (USSF) pays two sets of wages to male and female employees
  • The male and female employees perform equal work requiring equal skill and effort
  • The jobs performed by men and women are under similar working conditions

Once the USWNT does that, the burden shifts to the USSF to establish an affirmative defense such as:

  • The difference in pay between the genders is due to seniority
  • The difference is a function of a merit system
  • The difference in pay is due to a difference in performance quality or quantity
  • The difference is due to some other factor that does not include gender

Even if the USSF makes that case, the USWNT can still prevail by showing that the organization's justification is a pretext for discrimination.

Though the battle on the field was won by the USWNT, it is still not clear how their legal battle for pay equity will play out.

If you are in a similar struggle in your Milwaukee workplace, contact the law offices of Alan C. Olson and Associates to discuss your options, including employment law litigation.

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