POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The Equal Pay for Equal Work Act states that a man and a woman should be paid basically the same wages for the same work. Equal Employment Opportunity officers are put in place within organizations to make sure this happens, but in a 2021 case, it was an EEOC officer who filed the complaint.

An Equal Employment Opportunity officer just settled a "pay and inequity" settlement with the Polk County School District after her EEOC complaint from 2021 was reviewed. 

What You Need To Know

  • A former Equal Employment Opportunity officer just settled a "pay and inequity" settlement

  • The EEOC complaint against the Polk County School District from 2021 was recently reviewed

  • Carol Wynn-Green said the complaint was about gender and how a male co-worker with less tenure was getting paid more

  • Polk County School District said it ackinowledged the incident, but officials did not comment on this specific case

“Black people can discriminate against Black people. Disabled against disabled. Men against men — it has no bearing on who does what to somebody,” said Carol Wynn-Green, a former EEOC officer. 

Race was not part of Wynn-Green's complaint. It was about gender.

“When it comes down to men and women, if we’re doing the same type of work, we should be paid the same type of wages,” she said.

Wynn-Green said a male co-worker who had less tenure than she did was getting paid more than her. She also said a position's role was changed so that the same male co-worker could be eligible for promotion — something that had not been done for her. 

“I said, 'I can’t apply for it, I only have a Bachelor's and not a Master's,' and so it was like, 'Oh, ok,'" Wynn-Green said. "I wasn’t going there to ask for a change, so if it was like, 'oh, ok” for me, it should have been 'oh, ok' for them.”

Polk County School District said it acknowledged the incident and while officials did not comment on this specific case, they said they were pleased with the diversity numbers within the district. 

"Polk County Public Schools is proud of the diversity in our workforce and the opportunities for our employees to grow and advance in their careers," officials said in a statement. 

Officials also stated that 77% of Polk County Public School employees were women and the district was named to Forbes' 2022 list of America’s Best Employers for Women, as well as America’s Best Employers for Diversity.

"More than 40% of all PCPS employees are either Hispanic, Black or multi-racial," officials said in the statement. "It’s important that our workforce resembles the community we serve, and we will always work to create and expand opportunities for people of all backgrounds who wish to join our team.”

Wynn-Green left the district last year, but she said she hopes the recent settlement sparks a needed conversation about fair pay throughout all departments.

“When I started this, I didn’t know what would come of this, but I was hoping it would make someone realize we need to change our practices,” she said.