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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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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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.

Learn More About Sexual Harassment Law / How to Report Sexual Harassment at Work?

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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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