Soccer women_000071030399_LargeAs our readers may have heard, the star members of the U.S. women’s soccer team filed a wage discrimination complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In the complaint, the players cite USSF figures from last year showing that they were paid, on average, 40% of their male counterparts’ pay despite generating more revenue.

By filing their complaint, co-captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and goalkeeper Hope Solo have advanced the conversation regarding wage disparity. Fellow members of the U.S. Men’s Soccer team as well as celebrities and politicians, including presidential hopefuls, have publicly supported the women’s complaint.  Former U.S. men’s star Landon Donovan chimed in on Twitter stating,

#USWNT absolutely deserve to be treated fairly in all ways. Important to remember that these issues are/can be collectively bargained

— Landon Donovan (@landondonovan) March 31, 2016

Both #USMNT and #USWNT should be paid commensurate w/ the revenues they produce, not based upon what the other makes

— Landon Donovan (@landondonovan) March 31, 2016

And the conversation is likely to continue with the recent proposed revisions to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) proposed by the EEOC on January 29, 2016 (the seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) (http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-29-16.cfm).  The proposed revision would include collecting pay data from employers, including federal contractors, with 100 or more employees.  The EEOC states that this new data will assist the agency in identifying possible pay discrimination and assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces.

Beginning in September 2017, the proposed revisions would add aggregate data on pay ranges and hours worked to the information already collected on race, ethnicity, sex, and job category. The new pay data would provide the EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the Department of Labor with insight into pay disparities across industries and occupations and strengthen federal efforts to combat discrimination.  This information should also assist employers in evaluating their pay practices to prevent pay discrimination claims.

With the increase in pay data and the increase in high-visibility complaints like the one filed by the women’s soccer players, pay discrimination has scored national headlines. HRLegalist expects the increased media attention to directly result in an increase in EEOC activity regarding pay discrimination.  We urge our readers to consult legal counsel if you have any questions about Equal Pay Act compliance or potential complaints against your company.


Larae Idleman Cunningham- 3388Larae N. Cunningham is an attorney in Obermayer’s Labor Relations and Employment Law Department.  Her practice focuses on counseling management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law including discipline, termination, reductions-in-force, document retention, family and medical leave, reasonable accommodation under the ADA, NLRB compliance and wage and hour issues.  She can be reached at 215-665-3092 or larae.cunningham@obermayer.com.