FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, (October 4, 2011)
Contact:Mallory Wells, Public Policy Director, [email protected]
Brian Winfield, Communications Director, [email protected]
Legislators Aim to Bring Jobs to Florida
File the Florida Competitive Workforce Act
(Tallahassee) Bills aimed at bringing jobs to Florida, by improving our reputation as a great place to live, work and visit, have been filed in the legislature this week by Sen. Nan Rich and Rep. Scott Randolph. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act, SB 340 and HB 247, 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 anti-discrimination policies, state law currently fails to protect all Floridians against workplace discrimination.
"The Florida Competitive Workforce Act will not only ensure equal protection of the law for all Floridians,” said Sen. Nan Rich, the bill's Senate sponsor. “It will also show that Florida understands that the one of the best ways to grow our economy is to ensure we have a diverse workforce that capitalizes on the skills, perspectives and talents of all our people.”
Major corporations have long known that diversity is good for business. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 87% of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies and nearly half include gender identity and expression. Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, joined their ranks just this week by adding “gender identity” to its protections.
“It’s even more important during these challenging economic times that we do not let the fear of discrimination prevent anyone from bringing their business, their family, or their talents to our state,” said Representative Scott Randolph.
Here in Florida, Pepsico, Wells Fargo, JetBlue, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, and other billion-dollar corporations have joined Equality Means Business, a project to spotlight major employers in Florida that have adopted comprehensive non-discrimination polices and have demonstrated their commitment to valuing and pro-actively including all employees.
"Passage of this bill will dramatically improve Florida’s national and international reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live, work and visit." said Mallory Wells, public policy director for Equality Florida.
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.