US Soccer Makes Landmark Deal to Pay Men’s and Women’s National Teams Equally

US Soccer Makes Landmark Deal to Pay Men’s and Women’s National Teams Equally

After a group of top women’s players sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination in 2019, US Soccer has announced that they will have new contracts that will pay both women’s and men’s teams equally. This landmark decision will also include splitting World Cup prize money. 

These collective bargaining agreements were made after a decades-long fight by the U.S Women’s National Team (USWNT) for equal pay and fair treatment. 

The women’s national team has been recognized as U.S. Soccer’s most successful team, winning 4 Olympic gold medals and more World Cups than any other country. Contentions over the gender pay gap grew after the women’s consecutive World Cup championships in 2015 and 2019, while the men’s team failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament. 

In 2019, top women’s players sued U.S. Soccer for inequalities in treatment and pay, and won the lawsuit. U.S. Soccer agreed to pay $24 million to settle once a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was made.

As part of the latest bargaining deal, the USWNT will get $7.2 million in this year’s pool and includes a 68 percent increase to $120,000 for what players can earn in this summer’s World Cup qualifying tournament. These agreements run through 2028 and covers two World Cup cycles. 

Unlike the vast disparities in past distributions of FIFA’s prize money, under the new deals, U.S. Soccer will put 90 percent of the prize money from both the men’s and women’s World Cups into a pool for players to split. This is a groundbreaking move for U.S. Soccer as no other federation has gone as far as splitting World Cup prize money. 

Also included under the deals:

1/ U.S. Soccer will share commercial revenues with the players; 

2/ Both Men’s and Women’s games will be played on similar surfaces (grass or turf);

3/ Travel budgets will be comparable and both teams will have equal number of charter flights;

4/ U.S. Soccer agreed to establish protections to prevent harassment and other misconduct such as ability to anonymously report abuse.  More than a half-dozen players accused U.S. Soccer of willful inaction following abuse by coaches;

5/ Expanding parental benefits like childcare to not only USWNT but also for USMNT.

Now that new collective bargaining agreements have been made, the 2019 settlement can be finalized. With the decades long fight now settled, all that is left for the USWNT is to focus on the World Cup!

In many places, including under California law, paying less to one gender for the same work is illegal.  The movement towards gender pay equity is here to stay.  But, for the most part, men and women’s professional sports have not been considered equal.  Think NBA vs. WNBA.  Do you think this precedent will change pay practices in other women’s professional sports?

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LinkedIn Paying $1.8 million in Gender Pay Discrimination Case

LinkedIn to pay $1.8 Million in Pay Discrimination Settlement

As part of a settlement in a gender-based pay discrimination case, LinkedIn is set to pay $1.8 million in back wages to approximately 700 female employees.

The U.S. Labor Department investigators had made a pay discrimination complaint against LinkedIn, the career-networking platform, after a routine compliance evaluation found that from March 2015 to March 2017, LinkedIn failed to comply with equal pay law. The employer had been underpaying about 700 female workers in its San Francisco and Sunnyvale, California offices. The affected women were being paid less than men in comparable job roles in its Engineering, Product, and Marketing Departments.

Though LinkedIn has agreed to settle, the company denies the government’s claims of pay discrimination and insists that their models didn’t identify pay disparities, stating that LinkedIn has paid employees fairly and equitably. LinkedIn officials quote a pay study conducted in 2021 that found female employees earning $.99 for every $1 earned by a male employee, and that in the U.S., employees of color earned the same as White employees.

However, the Labor Department’s analysis found significant pay disparities. Federal laws ban any discriminatory pay practices especially in companies like LinkedIn that contracts with the government. As part of the settlement, LinkedIn is expected to pay $1.8 million in back pay and interest to resolve the violations.

The breakdown will be as follows:
• Sunnyvale Engineering: $719,592 in back pay plus $13,120 in interest
• Sunnyvale Product: $370,974.00 in back pay plus $13,120.00 in interest.
• San Francisco Engineering: $232,448.00 in back pay plus $13,120.00 in interest.
• San Francisco Marketing: $424,506.00 in back pay and $13,120.00 in interest.

LinkedIn also agreed to host a staff-training program to ensure compliance with non-discrimination policy and will evaluate that staff salaries are gender neutral for the next 3 years and make salary adjustments accordingly. LinkedIn will also revise its compensation policies and allow reporting to guarantee compliance with federal contract obligations. The Labor Department hopes these changes ensure LinkedIn understands its obligations as a federal contractor.

In addition to these federal laws, California has strict gender pay equity laws that requires women be paid the same as men for equal work.

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Video Game Giant Activision Blizzard Settles On $18 Million To Victims Of Sexual Harassment And Discrimination

Activision Blizzard Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Lawsuit

Activision Blizzard, a video game company giant, has agreed to settle a workplace discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The company will pay $18 Million and individuals who were employed after September 2016 that have a harassment, discrimination, or retaliation claim will be eligible at a piece of the settlement.

The EEOC filed the discrimination lawsuit after a three-year investigation initiated by several harassment, discrimination, and retaliation complaints by Activision employees. It found that the company failed to take corrective and preventative measures on sexual misconduct complaints. 

The DFEH alleged that Blizzard Entertainment had a pervasive “frat boy” culture where employees, under management’s instruction, would drunkenly go around the workplace harassing and groping female employees. On top of the rampant pay discrimination, victims of such harassment were punished when they spoke up against the unwanted behavior.

Throughout the investigations it was uncovered that Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO, knew for years about the sexual harassment complaints, including alleged rapes, but did not inform the board of directors, even after investigations began in 2018. It wasn’t until September 2021, when he was subpoenaed that the reports of misconduct were disclosed. Afterwards, Activision issued a press release in which they stated that they continue to quickly work at addressing and resolving workplace issues.

Several employees filed sexual harassment lawsuits against Activision. These employees describe a culture of sexual harassment and assault at the company. One current employee disclosed that she was subjected to frequent sexual advances, and another employee was subjected to sexual harassment, battery, and assault by management. When employees spoke up or tried to speak up, they were reprimanded, ridiculed, threatened with retaliation or told that human resources was not going to help. These victims demand from Blizzard an increased settlement amount in excess of $100M as an acceptable apology for the damage endured.

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President Biden Signs Executive Order to Narrow the Gender Pay Gap for Federal Workers

President Biden Signs Executive Order to Narrow Gender Pay Gap

On Equal Pay Day, March 15, 2022, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aiming at tackling the gender pay gap for federal workers. The executive order encourages the government to consider banning federal contractors from seeking information about job applicants’ prior salary history. 

President Biden encouraged private companies to follow suit and make efforts to narrow the gender pay gap because gender equality is not just a women’s issue but also affects the entire nation’s economy and competitiveness.

In related efforts, the labor department issued a directive to strengthen obligations for audits of payrolls to counteract pay disparities based on gender, race, or ethnicity. The Office of Personnel Managed was also directed to consider a regulation to address the use of prior salary history in setting compensation for federal workers.

This Equal Pay Day drew attention to the pandemic’s affect on women’s labor force participation. There was about 1.1 million fewer women in the labor force this year than in 2020, with low-paid workers hit the hardest, leaving middle- and higher-paid workers insulated from the pandemic. Vice President Kamala Harris aired that the pandemic has only deepened inequities especially as caregiving has become more expensive and inaccessible. And emphasized how African-American women, Latina women, and Native-American women lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over a 40-year career span.

As a result, President Biden has focused on combatting occupational segregation to give better access to women into, primarily male-dominated, well-paying jobs. In October 2021, The Biden administration issued a national gender strategy to advance women and girls’ full participation in society. 

In the end, Equal Pay Day highlighted the continuing wage-gap with the White House reporting that in 2020, the average woman earned 83 cents on the dollar compared with a male colleague doing the same work and that this gap is even bigger for African-American and Native American women and Latinas. Further, social security benefits for women are 80% of those for men.

California has already banned asking applicants about their prior salary history.  California has also passed strong gender pay equity laws.  We handle many such cases.  

What do you think is the right approach to gender pay equity?

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Mishandling Of Sexual Harassment Allegations Lead To Firing Of Several CVS Executives

An internal investigation found that several executives at CVS botched the handling of sexual harassment allegations. These findings prompted CVS CEO Karen Lynch to fire several executives and overhaul the company’s sexual harassment policy. 

Ms. Lynch took over as CEO in February 2021 for CVS making it the largest company by revenue to be run by a female CEO. Lynch made the changes to personnel after learning of complaints about a New Jersey regional manager who was allegedly harassing and inappropriately touching at least two female employees at work. 

Lynch personally oversaw the investigation into allegations against the manager. In January, when investigations concluded, Lynch ordered his dismissal as well as several of the manager’s superiors for failing to treat sexual harassment allegations with the seriousness they deserve.

The removal included an executive who supervised the regional manager and a human-resources executive, while a third executive left the company during the investigation.

Lynch then informed about 450 senior leaders at the company of the decision and revealed  plans to create an office for CVS that would offer its employees a confidential channel through which they can bring complaints of harassment. 

In a later memo, Ms. Lynch made clear that the company does not tolerate harassment or hostile behaviors regardless of position and will not tolerate inaction from those responsible of escalating concerns. She points out efforts to improve internal reporting, investigation, and the creation of a confidential channel for concerns. And allures to a review of procedures in the company’s human resources, legal department, and arbitration.

Do you think CVS is actually taking sexual harassment seriously now?

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Former Back-Up Dancer Sues Snoop Dogg for Sexual Assault

Snoop Dogg Sexual Assault Lawsuit. Alleged Incident occurred at recording studio

A woman (Jane Doe) filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court on February 9, 2022 accusing Snoop Dogg and Bishop Don ‘Magic’ Juan of sexual assault. The woman is described as a dancer, model and actress, and said to have regularly worked on-stage with the rapper. The alleged incident happened after the woman attended a Snoop Dogg concert in May 2013, nearly nine years ago.

The lawsuit alleges:

1/ Following the concert, Jane Doe and a friend agreed to go to Snoop Dogg’s studio with him and his friend Donald Campbell. 

2/ She asked to be taken home after an offer by Campbell, but Campbell drove her to his residence after she fell asleep in the car.

3/Jane Doe fell asleep at Campbell’s home and was awaken around 4 a.m. to Campbell forcing her to perform oral sex on him.

4/ Campbell urged her to accompany him to a Snoop Dogg taping, calling it a “career move” for her.

5/While at the taping, Snoop Dogg followed her to the bathroom where he forced her to perform oral sex and masturbated in front of her.

Jane Doe alleges she felt pressure from Snoop Dogg due to his position of power, ability to fire her, and ability to ensure she never be hired in the industry again. Her attorney explained that Jane Doe speaks now because she “refuses to be silenced and intimidated any longer” and hopes to inspire other victims to understand they have rights and do not have to be silenced forever.

A spokesperson for Snoop Dogg has denied the sexual assault allegations and denies she ever worked for him.  

According to the filing, the woman attempted private mediation with no success.  The lawsuit alleges that Snoop Dogg retaliated against her following the mediation by posting on Instagram that it was “gold digger season.” The post does not name any particular person.

California’s laws on sexual assault have changed recently to extend the statutes of limitations for civil claims.  

Do you think the long delay in bringing the claims will negatively effect Plaintiff’s claims?

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“King of Comedy” Jerry Lewis Under Fire for Sexual Harassment and Assault

Jerry Lewis Accused of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

Several actresses have accused comedian Jerry Lewis of sexual harassment and sexual assault. These claims were brought to light during interviews led by investigative film-makers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick. 

While investigating countless abuse allegations from Hollywood, the film-makers discovered that many of Lewis’ former co-stars had unsettling claims about the comedian. The film-makers had several sit-down conversations with the actresses and turned them into a feature and short film for the “Hollywood Issue.” 

Actresses that will be included in the short are: Hope Holiday (The Ladies Man), Jill St. John (Who’s Minding the Store?), Anna Maria Alberghetti (Cinderfella), Karen Sharpe (The Disorderly Orderly), Renée Taylor, vocalist Lainie Kazan, and several others. While all disturbing, Sharpe and Holiday’s are most severe.

Karen Sharpe alleges that Jerry Lewis attacked her in his office. She claimed that Lewis grabbed her, then attempted to fondle her, and began to take off his pants. Sharpe fought him off but then had to deal with a toxic filming environment as Lewis gave orders to the crew to not speak or rehearse with her.

Hope Holiday alleges that Lewis had locked her in his dressing room, then proceeded to “talk dirty” and masturbate. Holiday was torn about reporting the actor after the events because she had a signed contract with Lewis and the studio.

These allegations brought forth by Lewis’ co-stars add to the #MeToo movement’s focus on shining a spotlight on the misconduct in Hollywood and bringing abusers like Jerry Lewis out of cover. 

What do you think of these allegations?

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Congress Passes Law Prohibiting Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment & Assault Cases 

Congress and senate approve sexual harassment bill 2022

Congress has approved a new bill that would end forced arbitration in workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault cases and would allow people to file a lawsuit in court if the alleging party chooses. The measure was originally introduced in 2017 by Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. The bill had uncommonly strong bipartisan support and will soon be signed by President Joe Biden.

This law is a big win for the #MeToo movement that has prompted criticism on how sexual misconduct claims are handled. It is also a big win for all employees and likely other consumers who are forced into arbitration. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand claims it to be one of the most significant labor law changes in American history.

The bill would:
1/ nullify the language in employment contracts that force employees to bring sexual assault or harassment cases through arbitration—a process that is biased against employees and disproportionally benefits employers.
2/ bar arbitration clauses found in service agreements that have prevented those sexually assaulted in nursing homes or massage parlors from taking their claims to court.
3/ allow the alleging party to elect to file a lawsuit through the courts instead of forced arbitration—which has repeat player arbitrators who make the decisions, limited discovery, is without a jury, and without a chance to appeal a decision.
4/ allow for the publication of sexual misconduct allegations that stay secretive through the arbitration process. The secretiveness of arbitration has allowed corporations to avoid changing policies, protected perpetrators from public accountability, and has allowed for serial abusers to avoid removal. In effect, the nullification of the clause with this bill can kick start change in the workplace and can bring about justice for victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Employer defenders of the arbitration process argue it is faster and less costly than court. Yeah, less costly for them. As Senator Graham pointed out, it doesn’t harm business to ensure harassment victims are treated fairly.

It’s estimated that 60 million American workers have arbitration clauses in their employment contracts. This new bill would open the door for people who were bound by these arbitration contracts to finally take legal action and return them their constitutional right of their day in court.

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Georgia Police Department Accused of Rampant Sexual Harassment 

Georgia Police Department Accused of Rampant Sexual Harassment

A sexual harassment and hostile workplace probe into reported allegations against a Georgia police chief revealed a persistent hostile workplace for female employees in the Lawrenceville Police Department. The sexual harassment investigation led to the suspension of Georgia police Chief Tim Wallis, the verbal counseling of Wallis’ assistant chief, Maj. Myron Walker, and led to the resignation of Capt. Christopher Ryan Morgan, who was also found to have violated the city’s harassment policy.

Investigations into allegations uncovered:

1/ The investigation determined that Chief Wallis made sexist remarks to a female officer.

2/ It’s reported that he said “You walk around here looking like a Hooters girl when the air conditioner’s not working ” and “Are you working here or are you working at Hooters? Go get you some orange shorts on”

3/ The Captain violated the city’s sexual harassment policy when he made lewd comments via text to a female officer. It was reported that he asked her to send pictures of her breasts and told her she would look better naked.

3/ Wallis and other officers are also cited as creating a hostile work environment.

4/ The female complainant had originally sought help from Walker and other supervisors in dealing with Morgan’s harassment but they did little to help her.

5/ The report also exposes a years-long sexist culture in the department in which female employees felt undervalued while the network of men in the department, who committed bad behavior, were protected.

With these investigations, the city of Lawrenceville announced that it was updating trainings and would clarify its submission process of confidential employee complaints. 

Sexual harassment is prohibited under California and federal law. It is illegal for employers to allow anyone to be sexually harassed at work. Moreover, if the harassment is widespread enough it can create a hostile work environment

What other male dominated work environments do you think are still permeated with sexual harassment?

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Sexual Assault Charges for ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo Groping Dismissed

News on Cuomo Sexual Harassment Case Ruling

Sexually touching your employee against their will is not only illegal sexual harassment/assault, but it is criminal too.  But, in employment cases, rarely are criminal charges brought against the person committing the sexual assault.

This appears to have happened with former New York governor Andrew Cuomo.  A former aide of Cuomo accused him of grabbing her left breast.  She was one of 11 people accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

The misdemeanor charge of forcible touching of Brittany Commisso against ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo was dismissed by the Judge. This conclusion was made after the District Attorney decided to not prosecute Cuomo.

Here is what we know about the allegations:

1/Investigations into the other allegations of sexual harassment found that the Governor engaged in unwelcome and nonconsensual touching including unwelcome kisses, touching and grabbing an executive assistant and state entity employee’s butt, and nonconsensual touching of the waist, legs, back, hands, and chest of women.

2/ Investigations also found, among other things, that the Governor made numerous offensive comments of a suggestive and sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women including calling assistants “mingle mamas” and pet names, commenting on the attractiveness of employees, and making uncomfortable, suggestive, and explicit comments and jokes about personal life, relationships, and sex.

3/ Investigations revealed that the Governor’s sexually harassing behavior was not limited to members of his own staff, but extended to other State employees, including a State Trooper on his protective detail and members of the public

Unlike civil claims of sexual harassment/assault which can be proven in court with a simple preponderance of evidence, criminal charges must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  Do you think the criminal charges for sexual assault were dismissed by the DA because there was no evidence? 

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Shirazi Law Firm, PC

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