U.S. Women's Soccer Team's Equal Pay Lawsuit Dismissed; Appeal to Be Filed

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIMay 2, 2020

FRISCO, TX - MARCH 11: Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States raises the trophy during a game between Japan and USWNT at Toyota Stadium on March 11, 2020 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The United States women's national team's fight for equal pay suffered a major blow Friday evening with a federal judge tossing out the team's lawsuit against U.S. Soccer, according to the New York Times.

R. Gary Klausner of the United States District Court for the Central District of California delivered a summary judgment in which he ruled the team was not underpaid compared to the men's national team.

The players have already announced their intention to appeal.

While Klausner's 32-page decision dismissed the allegations of unequal pay, claims asserting violations of the Civil Rights Act will move forward to a June 16 trial in Los Angeles. The players are arguing the USWNT is discriminated against in travel, hotel accommodations, medical support and training services.

"We are shocked and disappointed with today's decision, but we will not give up our hard work for equal pay," Molly Levinson, a spokesperson for the players, wrote in a statement sent to the New York Times. "We are confident in our case and steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that girls and women who play this sport will not be valued as lesser just because of their gender.

"We have learned that there are tremendous obstacles to change; we know that it takes bravery and courage and perseverance to stand up to them. We will appeal and press on."

In seeking an appeal, Anne M. Peterson and Ronald Blum of the Associated Press noted the June 16 trial is subject to delay. An appeal could take anywhere between 12-20 months, per UCLA law professor Steven Bank. The players have already spent five years arguing for fair pay.

Klausner's decision in that regard calls into question the USWNT's collective bargaining tactics, writing in part: "Plaintiffs cannot now retroactively deem their CBA worse than the [men's national team] CBA by reference to what they would have made had they been paid under the MNT's pay-to-play terms structure when they themselves rejected such a structure."

The two-time defending FIFA World Cup champions were seeking more than $66 million in damages for what it asserts are violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by the United States Soccer Federation.