Action News Jax Investigates: Why city of Jacksonville pays some women less than men for same job

Action News Jax Investigates: Why the City of Jacksonville pays some women less than men for the same position

Action News Jax Investigates the city of Jacksonville and why it pays some women less than men for the same job.

Action News Jax dug through the salaries of thousands of city employees and found many women who had worked longer for the city than their male counterparts but were paid less.

In a 2016 lawsuit against the city of Jacksonville, a former employee claimed she was passed over for a promotion in favor of a male employee because he was "a company man."

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The city settled for $190,000.

Through a public records request, Action News Jax obtained every salary and position for roughly 4,500 employees.

Overall, 62% of city workers are men earning an average of more than $56,000 a year.

The data showed the average woman makes about $10,000 less.

“That's a red flag, unfortunately,” said Florida attorney Cathleen Scott.  “It's indicative of something more serious going on.”

Scott represents people fighting for equal pay.

“We have never seen any grand distinction between private and public employers in terms of the disparity,” Scott said.  “It exists pretty prevalently in both.”

Within the city's information technology department, Action News Jax found three people who have the same job title, but the female employee makes $22,000 less than the two men, even though her start date is years earlier.

Action News Jax found at least 14 other positions for which the data showed women working the same job, being paid less than their male counterparts, despite having an earlier start date.

Another finding: The city's top 12 earners are all men.

“Is this something (the city is) going to be reviewing?” Action News Jax reporter Russell Colburn asked the city’s Director of Public Affairs Nikki Kimbleton.

“We should be reviewing this all the time, Russell,” Kimbleton said.

Kimbleton said factors such as outside experience, certifications and education are all used to determine someone's salary.

She also said the city's male-dominated fire department may skew the overall salary averages.

“The positions, they all carry a different salary range, and one of the reasons is because even though the position may say the same title, the duties required within that position can be very different,” Kimbleton said.

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Kimbleton said those duties include supervising more people.

Kimbleton said the start date means when an employee started with the city, not necessarily when they began their current job.

As for the wage gaps Action News Jax uncovered, Kimbleton could not guarantee that all the men in those positions deserved to make more than their female counterparts.

“I would love to tell you that that's the case every single time,” Kimbleton said.  “I think it's the case in the majority of the situations.  But, here's the thing: If there really is a difference, we want to address it, you know? We want to be on top of this, and we want to be an example of how to do this right.”

Scott, that's a start.

“I don't think that this situation can be resolved overnight,” She said.  “So, I applaud your story. I applaud all the women out there who are brave enough to raise these concerns.”

It should also be noted that there were dozens of examples of women making more than men for the same position.