Will the LGBT Employment Discrimination Ban Pass in 2015?
On December 1, 2014, a bipartisan bill was proposed in the Florida House and Senate to end LGBT discrimination in employment. With no federal statute addressing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, passage of the legislation, known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA), would be a fundamental change.
Significantly, some major employers are already speaking out in favor of the law. Disney, Darden, Wells Fargo, Florida Blue, and CSX, among others, have rallied together as the Florida Business Coalition for a Competitive Workplace to “modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The Coalition has announced that it understands:
Florida employers must attract qualified and diverse applicants who reflect the diverse population of the state. The link between strong anti-discrimination laws and the ability to draw the best and brightest is the reason that 84% of the nation’s largest companies have adopted comprehensive anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity.
So, what are the changes this bill would bring? The bill would amend the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status to also include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. If the FCWA passes next year, Florida would join twenty-one states, the District of Columbia, and 140 cities and counties enacting some sort of LGBT ban against employment discrimination.