The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team is suing the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. The suit alleges several types of discrimination, but my question specifically pertains to the issue of equal pay. The men's World Cup is a significantly larger event and generates much more revenue for FIFA. Does the suit have any merit, and under what legal grounds can a case like this be pursued? The U.S. Soccer Federation initially refused to comply with the suit, but the case has now gone to mediation.
The suit has prima facie merit
the relevant provision of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 is:
SEC. 206. [Section 6]
(d) Prohibition of sex discrimination
(1) No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex
The players in a male or female soccer team are probably working "on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions".
The employer can argue that one of the exemptions applies although its not obvious that they do.
The fact that the men's sport brings in greater revenue to the woman's sport is not relevant to the rate of pay of the workers.