FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, (March 28, 2011)
Brian Winfield, Communications Director, (727) 488-7799
Mallory Wells, Public Policy Director, (407) 617-6682
Florida Competitive Workforce Act is Focus of
14th Annual Equality Florida Lobby Days
Bill would prohibit workplace discrimination based on
sexual orientation and gender identity
(TALLAHASSEE) Today, March 28th, dozens of Floridians from across the state will arrive at the Florida Capitol as part of the 14th Annual Equality Florida Lobby Days. They’ve come to build support for the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (HB 361 / SB 364), a jobs creation bill. When passed, the law would help build diversity in the workplace by eliminating discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Businesses recognize that a strong workforce is a diverse workforce. Diversity brings the skills, perspective and other assets that are essential to all business. Major employers in Florida have adopted comprehensive non-discrimination policies and are working closely with Equality Florida to encourage others to do the same. These companies include: BlueCross BlueShield of Florida; Pepsico, Sweetbay Supermarket; Carlton Fields; jetBlue Airways; Citi and Wells Fargo / Wachovia.
"Creating jobs and getting our economy going means making Florida competitive. Passage of this bill will attract new businesses and help us draw the best and brightest to our state," said Mallory Wells, Public Policy Director for Equality Florida, "These basic protections already cover more than half of Florida's population through local policies and have the support of nearly 90% of the public. It is time to ensure full equality exists statewide."
“In a time of serious economic hardship, it is imperative that we do everything we can to encourage economic growth and investment,” said Representative Scott Randolph, the House bill sponsor. “This bill promotes smart business practices that will attract employers to our state and create jobs. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act seeks to move Florida forward.”
Most recently, Leon and Orange counties have adopted similar protections. To learn more about Equality Florida's work, please visit http://www.equalitymeansbusiness.org/ .
The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression” to Florida’s existing civil rights codes that ban discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Currently, the law protects people based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, handicap or marital status.
Equality Florida is Florida’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.