USWNT, US Soccer settlement: U-M experts can comment
University of Michigan experts are available to comment on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team’s $24 million settlement in its class action equal pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation
Marissa Pollick, an attorney and lecturer in the U-M School of Kinesiology, teaches courses in sports law, race and gender discrimination in sport, and sport and public policy.
“This is a notable and historically significant outcome for women athletes. However, from an employment law perspective, it’s important to point out that a federal judge had previously dismissed the USWNT’s claims under the federal Equal Pay Act. That ruling was on appeal,” she said. “The women were successful on their other legal claims against U.S. Soccer under Title VII regarding disparate terms and conditions of employment such as travel, hotel accommodations and team staffing, between the women’s and men’s teams.
“Also, the settlement amount of $24 million will be divided among dozens of plaintiffs so the dollar amount per player is not an enormous financial victory. But, the fact of the settlement itself, together with U.S. Soccer’s commitment to equalize pay between the men’s and women’s national teams in the next collective bargaining agreements, are symbolically of great significance for women athletes.”
Anna Kirkland, director of the U-M Institute for Research on Women & Gender and professor of women’s and gender studies, is an expert on the relationships between health, law and rights in the contemporary U.S. She can discuss pay disparities between men and women, as well as the impact of the landmark settlement on sports and other industries.