Settlement Reached in U.S. Soccer Pay Equity Case
Workspan Daily
February 25, 2022

A group of U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) soccer players including Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan have reached a $24 million settlement with the U.S. Soccer Federation, resolving a case centered on unequal pay in comparison to U.S. men’s team players.

The settlement was announced on Tuesday, Feb. 22, more than five years after the plaintiffs filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint alleging inequality in pay and treatment. Per the terms of the settlement, U.S. Soccer will pay men and women “at an equal rate in the future in all friendlies and tournaments, including the World Cup.”

Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday, Rapinoe described the settlement as “just a huge win in ensuring that we not only right the wrongs of the past, but set the next generation up for something we only dreamed of, adding that “we are really in the midst of an incredible turning point in women’s sport.

“If you’re not paying attention to this right now and what’s happening in women’s sports, you’re sleeping on the whole thing.”

U.S. Soccer will pay $22 million to the players in the case and an additional $2 million into an account to benefit USWNT players in their post-career goals and charitable efforts related to women’s and girls’ soccer, according to the settlement terms. Players will be able to apply for up to $50,000 from this fund.

Accenture Makes First Startup Investment Through Black Founders Development Program

Accenture has invested in SwayBrand, a Los Angeles-based multicultural media technology platform that helps brands connect with diverse influencers. This marks the first startup investment in North America made through the company’s Black Founders Development Program.

Part of Accenture’s Project Spotlight initiative, the Black Founders Development Program is designed to help Black technology startup founders and entrepreneurs advance and grow their businesses through greater, more direct access to venture capital, corporate mentorship and strategic connections with Accenture business partners and clients, according to the company.

The program makes strategic investments in early-stage, Black-founded and -run software startups and other market development initiatives, applying Accenture’s vast technology, innovation and investment expertise and powerful network of technology ecosystem partners.

“By creating new opportunities for Black business owners and leaders, and leveraging the full power of Accenture’s global technology business, the Black Founders Development Program is seeking to help correct the imbalance between Black entrepreneurs, who too often face a lack of access to capital, and their counterparts,” said Kathryn Ross, global open innovation lead and the Black Founders Development Program lead for Accenture Ventures.

“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with SwayBrand on in-house and other client projects, while also helping the company’s leadership accelerate the growth and expansion of the business.”

Employees Protest Google’s Wage Policy

Google’s decision to pay employees at its new Durham, North Carolina location lower salaries than their peers in other Google engineering hubs has been met with internal protests, reports the Greensboro News & Record.

One group in particular, the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), has filed an internal petition against the company’s decision to pay Durham workers less, according to the paper. (Alphabet is Google’s parent company.)

According to Google, the reasoning behind the pay reduction was that the cost of living in the Raleigh-Durham area is lower than that in other cities where the company has offices. Google has implemented similar pay structures in Houston and Des Moines, Iowa, and first notified employees in 2020 — not long after the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic — that they might see their pay reduced if they opted to move to less expensive areas.

“Since then, more than 10,000 Google employees have applied for remote work or transferred to a new office, with 85% of those requests being approved,” the News & Record reports.

More Companies Lifting Mask Requirements

Tyson Foods recently joined the list of companies dropping their mask requirements for employees who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a Feb. 15 memo, Tom Brower, Tyson’s senior vice president of health and safety, told the meat producer’s U.S.-based employees that those who are fully vaccinated “can choose to remove their masks at work,” as CBS News reported. However, masks must still be worn at some of Tyson’s plants, depending on local laws and U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations.

Other large employers such as Amazon and Walmart have recently made similar announcements, with Walmart telling its more than 1.5 million U.S.-based employees that fully vaccinated workers would no longer have to wear masks in any Walmart or Sam’s Club facility, unless state or local ordinances required them to do so. Unvaccinated workers and those in Walmart’s health clinics and pharmacies must still wear masks, according to CBS News.

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