Federal Law, Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, require employers to treat male and female employees equally in the workplace, not just in terms of pay, but to all forms of compensation, and terms, conditions or privileges of employment, transfers, or promotions.
An employer cannot deny women equal pay for equal work, deny women transfers, promotions, or wage increases, manipulate job evaluations to relegate women’s pay, or intentionally segregate men and women into jobs according to their gender. Every year the EEOC receives tens of thousands of charges of gender discrimination in employment.
Now claims of unequal treatment have spilled over into the world of professional soccer where five women players have filed a charge of discrimination against the U.S. Soccer Federation claiming that male players are paid up to four times as much as the women for doing basically the same job. In fact, the women claim they brought in nearly $20 million more for U.S.S.F. last year than the men.
The legal challenge of sexism in soccer forces one to reflect on the last month’s war of words over equal pay for women in professional tennis. In a press conference that would put Donald Trump to shame, Raymond Moore, Indian Wells tournament director was quoted as saying, “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.” Moore followed this up with his observation that some women tennis players are “very attractive”, “They’re physically attractive and competitively attractive… they have quite a few very, very attractive players.”
Moore resigned the next day.
Back to the legal conflict in soccer: Some believe the U.S.S.F. may raise as one defense that the women agreed to the conditions of their employment—including compensation—in collective bargaining negotiations.
But is this the way it ought to be? Employers generally have more power than employees in employment negotiations, even when dealing with a union, but particularly where just one or a few people are applying for a job. We are a nation of laws, where might does not make right. This is exactly the kind of evil the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were enacted to prevent.
If you believe you may be the victim of gender based discrimination in the terms of your employment you should consider consulting with an employment lawyer.
You may contact the employment attorneys at Maduff & Maduff for more information.