U.S. Soccer Federation Has Obligation to Treat Women’s and Men’s Sports Equally, Georgetown Law’s ICAP Tells Court
Case brought by U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
WASHINGTON (July 30, 2021) — The Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) at Georgetown University Law Center today filed an amicus brief in support of the pay-discrimination lawsuit brought by members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation.
ICAP’s amicus brief supports the women’s team on appeal, explaining that the U.S. Soccer Federation, as the national governing body for soccer in the United States, is a creation of federal law with a duty to serve the public interest and an express responsibility to advance gender equality in soccer. This special quasi-public status makes it even more important that the U.S. Soccer Federation comply with federal antidiscrimination laws.
In their lawsuit, the women’s team members allege that the U.S. Soccer Federation denies them equal pay on account of their gender, in violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Even though the U.S. Women’s National Team is the most dominant team in international soccer history, the U.S. Soccer Federation pays the team members less than their male counterparts, both in their per-game salary and the bonus money they receive for winning games.
“The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act makes clear that the U.S. Soccer Federation is no ordinary employer,” said Annie Owens, Senior Counsel at ICAP. “That law requires that national governing bodies treat women’s and men’s sports equally. Living up to these obligations is especially vital given that the U.S. Soccer Federation also has a statutory responsibility to represent the best of the United States on the world stage. By paying the women’s team less, the U.S. Soccer Federation is breaching its duties under federal law—not to mention sending a clear message to the millions of American girls watching the Olympics that women’s athletic achievements are worth less than those of men.”
Read the brief here.
About the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection
ICAP uses the power of the courts to defend American constitutional rights and values. Based at Georgetown Law Center, ICAP draws on expert litigators, savvy litigation strategy, and the constitutional scholarship of Georgetown to vindicate individuals’ rights and to protect America’s constitutional way of life. More information about ICAP can be found at law.georgetown.edu/icap.