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USWNT seeks right to immediately appeal judge’s ruling in equal pay lawsuit

If approved, the motion will allow an appeal process to take place immediately, rather than after the resolution of the trial.

The U.S. women’s national team filed a motion to appeal a district court judge’s decision to dismiss key portions of an equal pay lawsuit the players filed against U.S. Soccer.

Last week, District Judge R. Gary Klausner leveled a significant blow to the players by striking down their arguments that their rights were violated under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The players had argued the federation violated the Equal Pay Act by paying women’s team athletes less than the men and created a discriminatory workplace environment that violated Title VII. Klausner dismissed both claims via summary judgment, along with the players’ claims regarding playing surfaces.

His decision left only two of the players’ claims — unfair travel accommodations and medical and training support. The trial to address those issues is set to begin on June 16.

The players would normally have to wait until after a trial on the two remaining, limited claims before they could appeal the judge’s decision. The motion argues an expedited appeal would allow the players to potentially have the dismissed claims reinstated ahead of a more comprehensive trial. 

“Simply put, the dismissed equal pay claims constitute the core of plaintiffs’ case, and without a final resolution on their status, it will be exceedingly difficult for the parties ever to reach a settlement,” the motion read.

“Equal pay means paying women players the same rate for winning a game as men get paid,” USWNT representative Molly Levinson said. “The argument that women are paid enough if they make close to the same amount as men while winning more than twice as often is not equal pay. The argument that maternity leave is some sort of substitute for paying women players the same rate for winning as men is not valid, nor fair, nor equal. The argument that women gave up a right to equal pay by accepting the best collective bargaining agreement possible. In response to the Federation’s refusal to put equal pay on the table is not a legitimate reason for continuing to discriminate against them.”

The players also filed a motion requesting a delay of the trial date because travel is limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. The motion requested “the court set a date for the trial a few months out, at a time that is practicable in light of COVID-19 restrictions.”

In the week since Klausner’s decision, players vowed they would continue fighting for equal pay.

“We’re doing this not for us, but for the women who come after and just women in general, in any marketplace, who are trying to get paid what they deserve,” defender Becky Sauerbrunn said during an Instagram Live interview with Men In Blazers on Wednesday.




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