HOLLYWOOD (AP) — A federal judge gave preliminary approval to the proposed $24 million settlement between U.S. women’s soccer players and the sport’s American governing body on Thursday and set a hearing for final approval for December 5.
After hearing the players’ motion for approval, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled in their favor.
As the lead plaintiff puts it, “most importantly, the unopposed settlement agreement accomplishes the plaintiffs’ goal for litigation: equal pay, “It was his words that were put on paper. The agreement represents a fair and reasonable resolution, and the court approves it.”
In April 2016, several players, including Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Alex Morgan, lodged a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After waiting three years, the players filed suit, citing the federal Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as the basis for their claim.
In 2020’s December, the two sides reached a deal on working conditions, which included things like charter flights, lodging, and field conditions.
In February, they reached an agreement to settle the remaining $22 million, with each player contributing an amount of their choosing. The settlement also requires the U.S. Soccer Federation to set aside $2 million for a fund that will help former players in their post-soccer endeavors and charitable work to promote soccer among women.
According to what Klausner wrote, the parties settled on allocating the money to the players proportionally to their playing time, and the lawyers were expecting to ask for “no more than approximately 30% of the common fund.”
Payment parity between the USSF’s male and female teams was a condition of the settlement. In May, the federation made public individual labor contracts with both national team unions, running from January 2020 to November 2028.
Within 14 days, Klausner instructed the USSF to provide the players’ attorneys with a list of eligible players, and the attorneys had another 21 days to notify the players of the settlement.
Klausner ordered that all requests for attorneys’ fees and final approval be submitted by December 1.
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