The Sunshine State’s LGBT community could win protection from workplace discrimination if a new bipartisan bill is approved in the state legislature. Florida is one of the largest states in the country still lacking a statewide LGBT anti-discrimination law.
State Rep. Joe Saunders, a Democrat elected in November and one of Florida’s first openly gay legislators (along with Rep. David Richardson), introduced the Florida Competitive Workforce Act this week. The legislation would prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Saunders is sponsoring the bill in conjunction with Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D- SD 25) and Rep. Holly Raschein (R- HD 120). All three sponsors said instituting statewide workplace protections is not only the “right thing to do,” but also profitable for Florida businesses.
“The Florida Competitive Workforce Act will help improve the business climate here in Florida. A majority of Fortune 500 companies already protect all employees from discrimination, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it helps their bottom line,” said Raschein. “For any business to thrive, they must be able to recruit and retain a diverse group of top talent to their company. This bill would allow Florida to be more competitive in a modern market place.”
Saunders notes that many Florida communities have already passed local anti-discrimination ordinances, and the Florida Competitive Workforce Act will bring the entire state up to date.
“This bill is about ensuring employees are judged based on the work they do, not who they are or what their family looks like. It is time for Florida to catch up the private sector, and to its own municipalities that have already passed these protections on the local level,” he said.