EEOC asks to join USWNT in equal pay appeal

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has asked for permission to participate in the appeal by the United States women soccer players trying to reinstate their pay claim against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The EEOC asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday to be allowed to address the court during oral arguments scheduled for March 7 in Pasadena, Calif.

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The EEOC said the players’ lawyers had agreed to cede four minutes of their 20-minute time allotment before the three-judge panel.

The USSF said it did not oppose the use of the players’ time.

Women’s team players sued the federation in March 2019 under the Equal Pay Act, claiming they had not been paid equitably under their collective bargaining agreement compared to what the men’s team received under its agreement.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner granted a summary judgment to the federation on the pay claim, and the sides settled the portion of the suit alleging discriminatory working conditions.

“This case raises the important question of how to analyze the rate of pay under the EPA when there are multiple forms of salary, as well as the proper analysis of a discriminatory pay claim,” the EEOC said.

The USSF says it has offered identical deals to the unions for the women and the men, but the unions are not obligated under federal law to negotiate similar terms.

“U.S. Soccer remains committed to equal pay for our senior national team players and ensuring that they remain among the highest paid in the world,” the USSF said in a statement.

“We believe the 9th Circuit will affirm the district court’s decision to dismiss the pay discrimination claims.”

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