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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University of Texas Professor Wins $3M Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

Professor Pregnancy Discrimination News

University of Texas at Austin engineering professor, Evdokia Nikolova, has been awarded $3 million by a jury for being discriminated against based on sex and pregnancy when she applied for tenure. 

Nikolova had worked for nearly five years at UT-Austin and two years at Texas A&M University, when she applied for tenure for the 2018-2019 academic year. Despite being unanimously approved for tenure by the School of Engineering, UT-Austin dean of engineering school Sharon Wood denied her tenure stating that Nikolova did not have the seven requisite years of teaching, which professors typically have when requesting tenure.

Wood argued that Nikolova was making the request too early because she had taken a “probationary extension” and ”modified instructional duty” for pregnancy and childbirth during 2015-2016 and therefore had not yet met the seven years.

Under various state laws like California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, employees cannot be punished for taking pregnancy or medical/disability leave.  

Nikolova filed the lawsuit against UT-Austin in 2019. The lawsuit showed how there continues to be discrimination against women and mothers in the workplace. Evidence showed that since Nikolova’s first university interview, nine male professors had received tenure while both women who applied for tenure during the same period were denied. The lawsuit also highlighted the importance of pointing out discrimination in influential institutions like UT-Austin, as it deters other institutions from thinking that discrimination can go unchecked.

The University denied any unfair treatment of Nikolova, but stated it will look to improve processes and implement steps to comply with the verdict.

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Sexual Harassment / Sexual Orientation Harassment – Case Example

Sexual Orientation Harassment Case Example

Throughout his employment, Vinny (male) had to endure a hostile work environment of constant, severe and unwelcome sexual harassment and touching.

A co-worker exposed himself to Vinny multiple times and would call him a faggot. Vinny made a formal written complaint to HR about this and of sexual harassment towards a female employee. Soon thereafter his employer retaliated against him for his written complaints. He received two write-ups and was terminated the very next month.

Same-sex sexual harassment is illegal. So is sexual orientation harassment, even if the person’s involved are heterosexual and only perceived to be LGBTQ+. Moreover, it does not matter if the motivation of the harasser is sexual desire—it is illegal under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The sexual misconduct and the company’s retaliation and wrongful termination had a devastating effect on Vinny and his family. We helped Vinny get justice.
If you have suffered sexual orientation harassment or discrimination in your workplace or have been retaliated against, our firm may be able to get you justice too. Give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free consultation.

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Man Awarded $450K After Workplace Birthday Party Panic Attack Leads to Termination

Disability Discrimination News

Kevin Berling was awarded $300,000 for emotional distress and $150,000 in lost wages for a disability discrimination case in late March after a two day trial in Kenton County, Kentucky.

Berling sued his employer, Gravity Diagnostics after the company threw him a birthday party against his request that the company not celebrate his birthday because it would cause him immense stress.

Berling suffers from anxiety disorders and panic attacks. He worked at Gravity Diagnostics for approximately 10 months, when he requested that the company not celebrate his birthday as it normally does for its employees. Berling told his supervisor that a birthday celebration would be a stressful trigger of bad childhood memories surrounding his parents’ divorce. The lawsuit outlines that the office manager ends up forgetting his request and the party is still held for Berling. As a result, Berling suffers a panic attack and leaves.

The next day, Berling is called into a meeting with his bosses where he suffers another panic attack when his supervisor chastised him for “stealing his co-workers” joy and for “being a little girl.” The company then fires Berling saying that they were worried about him being angry and violent. 

As part of the lawsuit, Berling claimed the company discriminated against him based on his disability, and retaliated against him for requesting a reasonable accommodation for his disability. The jury returned the verdict after two days in trial and awarded Berling a $450,000 win. 

The company continues to deny liability and is pursuing port-trial options. The company’s founder and COO, Julie Brazil, stated that the verdict sets a dangerous precedent in which workplace violence will be tolerated unless physical violence occurs, and stated that her employees were the victims, not Berling. The jury didn’t seem to agree with Brazil once they got to meet Berling at trial and saw that the company’s claim that he posed a threat was more of an exaggeration.

Employers must accommodate their employee’s disabilities and cannot terminate someone based on a protected category such as a disability or medical condition.  Further, the law prohibits harassment of an employee based on medical condition or disability. 

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, retaliated or discriminated against based on a protected category such as a physical or mental disability, or medical condition, give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free intake.

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Former Black Employees Sue Google For Racial Discrimination

Google Racial Discrimination

A lawsuit filed against Google claims it has a pattern and practice of racial discrimination toward minority employees. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of April Curley and other former and current black employees at Google. 

Plaintiff to the suit, April Curley, was a Google diversity recruiter for six years. She is claiming wrongful termination because Google fired her after she told managers she was creating a report on discriminatory practices. Curley and other women were retaliated against after trying to report the racist culture they experienced in Google.

When first hired by Google, Curley was placed in an entry-level position, drastically below her qualifications of a master’s degree and five years of experience. She was also consistently passed up for promotions. Curley was restrained to this entry-level classification for six years! Google had blocked her promotion with the excuse of there being no budget for it and instead decided to wrongfully terminate Curley. 

Part of the allegations included that Google steered new Black employees toward lower-level roles that kept them at less pay and kept them from opportunities for advancement. Plaintiff claims that when black employees opposed these discriminatory practices, they were faced with a hostile work environment and retaliation.

According to Google’s 2021 annual diversity report, the company recognizes a need to change structural inequities, yet they have not done so. The suing, former employees, including April Curley, were exceptional employees at Google but were discriminatorily treated and pushed out. While Google aimed at increasing diversity, they were actually undervaluing and underpaying their black employees—leading to their higher turnover. The proposed class action seeks that employees get their positions back and be awarded the full compensation and benefits owed, and future losses.

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National Origin & Race Discrimination – Case Example

A recently handled national origin and racial discrimination case

Lisa is a young woman of Chinese descent. Lisa was subjected to harassment and discrimination at work based on her national origin and race.

Lisa’s boss would make racist comments such as “fucking Chinese people”, constantly saying that there are too many Chinese employees and saying that they needed to stop hiring Chinese people. Lisa’s employer additionally instructed Lisa not to hire certain types of people, such as “blacks.” Lisa protested and complained about the racist comments to her employer.

Instead of trying to cure the discrimination and harassment as required by law, Lisa’s employer retaliated against her and terminated her employment because she protested her boss’ discrimination and harassment.

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits an employer, including any supervisor, from harassing or discriminating an employee based on national origin or race. We helped Lisa get justice for the racial harassment and retaliation she endured. We were able to get her a favorable settlement.

If you have been harasseddiscriminated, or retaliated against based on a protected category such as race or national origin, give us a call at 310-400-5891 for your free intake.

Learn more about National Origin / Race Discrimination Law

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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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Shirazi Law Firm, PC

Shirazi Law Firm, PC

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