Monday, June 24, 2019

U.S. Women's Soccer Mediation

The World Cup competing U.S. women’s national team (USWNT) players and the U.S. Soccer Federation will mediate over pay equity and workplace dignity issues following the conclusion of the tournament in France next month. U.S. Soccer and the 28 USWNT players suing the federation have tentatively agreed to mediation in the equal pay fight on the disparity between U.S. men's and women's national team players. Women players engaged in legal action, including filing with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and suing U.S. Soccer in federal District Courts. The USWNT Players’ Association and U.S. Soccer had agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement that ensured games would continue to be played, but failed to resolve many grievances like workplace discrimination on the basis of gender. Salary and workplace discrepancies are highlighted by global dominance of the U.S. women, especially when compared to the lackluster men's team. USWNT players contend they earn 62% less than males and have inferior travel, second-rate training facilities and more dangerous playing conditions. Employers accused of Equal Pay Act violations typically insist lawful explanations exist for differences in pay between male and female workers. The women also contend U.S. Soccer is violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which makes it illegal for employers to use the gender of workers to determine pay. Employers often rebut the assertion that gender played any role in pay calculations citing supervisors’ evaluations of employees to distinguish them on bases other than their sex. Of course, U.S. Soccer rejects these and related claims, saying players negotiated the very rules that they are now contesting. It will be interesting to see what becomes of this dispute and whether the U.S. women can come home as champions heading into the negotiations. See full stories here-- and

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Florida Appellate Mediator Certification Changes

Under a new Administrative Order of The Supreme Court of Florida, No. AOSC19-26 governing certification of mediators, several changes to the continuing mediator education (CME) requirements have been implemented. News of the changes came to presently certified mediators via the Florida Dispute Resolution Center (DRC), including the removal of the four-hour appellate-specific CME requirement. I have been mediating appellate cases since 2001, before the statewide certification existed. In 2001, the Fifth District Court of Appeal instituted a pilot program referring appeals to mediation before the expense of briefing. The pilot was deemed a success by the court and adopted as a permanent program in 2004. The program is touted as achieving the goals of saving litigants time and money by resolving disputes more quickly and less expensively than the appeal process. This includes helping parties and counsel to narrow and clarify issues for appeal so that cases can be expedited. For many years, the results have hovered around a third of cases being resolved through the appellate mediation process. Those of us who participated as mediators were grandfathered into the statewide certification which requires four hours of initial instruction by a recognized DRC approved trainer. Until now, four additional hours of CME was required every two years for recertification. However, be advised that effective immediately, certified appellate mediators must maintain only a certification in either of family, circuit or dependency mediation and complete only the standard CME requirements in order to renew as a certified appellate mediator. See more here--