Law360 Quotes Chris Wall on Possible Benefit to Women’s Soccer Deal Had 9th Circuit Considered 4th Circuit’s Pay Rate vs. Total Wages Holding

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Labor and employment partner Christopher Wall was quoted in a Law360 Employment Authority article titled “4th Circ.’s Pay Bias Holding Untested In Women’s Soccer Deal,” published February 23, 2022. (Subscription required.) The article discusses a recent Fourth Circuit panel holding that the metric for Equal Pay Act claims is underlying pay rate and not total wages — important when considering whether women have been paid equally to men — and how it might have helped the U.S. Women’s National Team players in their Ninth Circuit case against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Attorneys including Wall note that though the circuit courts are under no obligation to follow each other, they will tend to consider what the others are doing, a courtesy that didn’t occur in the recently settled case between U.S. Soccer and the women’s team and for which the Fourth Circuit panel’s holding could have strengthened the players’ position. “The settlement moots the entire controversy and so the court has no basis and will not weigh in on a resolved controversy,” Wall said.

Of guidance from the Ninth Circuit, Wall said: “It would have been really helpful. There’s already a lot of uncertainty in the pay equity arena and so having some additional clarity would be welcome.”

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