Bipartisan Legislation Aim to Bring Jobs to Florida
File the Florida Competitive Workforce Act
(Tallahassee) Bills aimed at bringing jobs to Florida (SB 710, HB 653), by improving our reputation as a great place to live, work and visit, have been filed in the legislature this week by Representative Joe Saunders (D- HD 49) and Senator Joe Abruzzo (D- SD 25). Representative Holly Raschein (R- HD 120) has signed on to be the primary co-sponsor in the House.
The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would prohibit discrimination in the workplace, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While the majority of Floridians now live in communities that have passed strong local anti-discrimination policies, state law currently fails to protect all Floridians against workplace discrimination.
“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 Rep. Holly 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.”
Major corporations have long known that diversity is good for business. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 89% of Fortune 500 companies, including the country’s largest private employer Wal-mart, include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies and nearly half include gender identity and expression.
“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,” said Rep. Joe Saunders.
"Our bill will ensure equal protection for all Floridians,” said Sen. Joseph Abruzzo.“It will also show that Florida understands the need of a workforce that capitalizes on the skills and merits of all our people.”
Major Florida employers like Pepsico, Wells Fargo, JetBlue, Florida Blue, symantec, Citi, Darden Restaurants and other billion-dollar corporations have strong non-discrimination policies and have demonstrated their commitment to valuing and proactively including all employees.
"We are thrilled to have bipartisan support for the bill right out of the gate" said Mallory Wells, public policy director for Equality Florida. “Members of both parties understand the importance of passing protections for employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Contact: Mallory Wells, Public Policy Director, Equality Florida