Red Card on Wage Discrimination: US Soccer Pay Disparity Highlights Inadequacy of the Equal Pay Act

Hannah L. E. Masters · 22 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. 895

Abstract

In the months leading up to its latest World Cup win, the US Women’s National Team sued its parent organization over income inequality in US soccer. Statements from high-profile players, like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, contributed to a national conversation about the gender pay gap that exists not just in soccer but across many professions. The claims of the Women’s Team should make for a perfect Equal Pay Act claim, but all signs point to a loss. Instead, the women are far more likely to succeed on their claim arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, despite the lack of evidence showing that the pay discrepancy is the result of discrimination. This Note examines the claims brought and how they highlight the inadequacy of the Equal Pay Act. The world’s best women’s soccer team isn’t being paid equally with its far-less-successful male counterpart; if the women’s team can’t make out a successful Equal Pay Act claim, who can? This Note urges amending the Equal Pay Act in a few key ways to ensure that women are paid equally to men when performing the same work.