Judge Approves US Women’s Soccer Equal Pay Deal

LOS ANGELES — The proposed $24 million settlement between American soccer players and the sport’s governing body was granted tentative approval Thursday by a federal judge, who set a hearing for Dec. 5 for final approval.

US District Judge R. Gary Klausner granted the players’ request for permission.

“Most importantly, the unopposed settlement achieves the plaintiffs’ goal for the litigation: equal pay,” he wrote. “The court is convinced that the settlement is a fair and reasonable solution.”

Gamers including Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan filed a complaint with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April 2016. The players sued three years later, seeking damages under the Federal Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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The sides agreed in December 2020 on the part of the working conditions, which dealt with issues such as charter flights, accommodation and playing surfaces.

They agreed in February to settle the balance of $22 million, which was to be split into individual player-proposed amounts. In addition, the settlement calls for the US Football Association to establish a $2 million fund to benefit players in their post-football careers and charitable efforts aimed at promoting the sport for women.

Klausner wrote the parties agreed that the settlement monies would be distributed to players based on playing time, and their lawyers expected to claim “no more than approximately 30% of the common fund.”

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The settlement was conditional on the USSF entering into collective bargaining agreements to pay its men’s and women’s teams equally. The federation announced in May separate employment contracts until December 2028 with the unions for both national teams.

Klausner asked the USSF to send the players’ attorneys a list of eligible players within 14 days, and then gave the players’ attorneys 21 days later to notify the eligible players of the settlement.

Klausner set a December 1 deadline for filing requests for attorneys’ fees and for final approval.

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