Fairness in the Workplace

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Written By: Steve Rothaus

In a heartening show of unity and economic good sense, 11 major employers in Florida have joined with Equality Florida, the state's leading gay rights group, to push for a state law banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Called the Florida Business Coalition for a Competitive Workforce, the companies — from Walt Disney Resort to Wells Fargo — have committed to convincing the Florida Legislature that workplace equality for everyone is not only fair and just, but is also good for Florida's economy. The more diverse the state's workforce, the broader the net is cast for talented and innovative employees.

As Rich Jeffers, communications director for Orlando-based Darden restaurants, told The Herald's Steve Rothaus, “We think having a diverse employee base makes us a stronger company. It doesn't make any sense to turn anyone away.” The Orlando-based company, owner of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and The Capital Grille, has long had protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and customers. It recently was awarded a 100 percent score for corporate equality by the Human Rights Campaign, a top U.S. gay-rights group.

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