TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Three Florida legislators have again filed the Competitive Workforce Act, an update to the state’s Civil Rights Act of 1992 which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of groups protected against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Florida law currently offers these protections based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability status, national origin, age and marital status.
“Now more than ever, we need our elected leaders to not only say they stand with us, but to demonstrate through action that they stand with us,” said Hannah Willard, senior policy director for Equality Florida, in a statement. “Last year, a near majority of the Republican-dominated Florida legislature signed on as cosponsors of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, marking unprecedented progress towards full legal protections for LGBTQ Floridians. We know LGBTQ equality is not a partisan issue but a human issue, and I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with bipartisan legislators, influential business leaders, and compassionate clergy to advocate for this landmark legislation.”
With no statewide law yet on the books, many cities and counties in Florida have taken it upon themselves to add sexual orientation and/or gender identity to their local nondiscrimination protections.
Twelve counties, along with 33 cities and towns in Florida currently prohibit discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity in both the private and public sector; with another dozen counties, cities and towns offering a part of those protections.
Florida’s Competitive Workforce Act has been introduced in some form every legislative session since 2007 but has died in committee each time. Last year was the first time the bill made it onto a committee agenda when the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee voted on it, but it died when the committee deadlocked with a 5-5 split vote.