Study Shows Anti-Discrimination Law Will Improve Economy In Florida

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 13, 2017
Contact: Christina Johnson, 850.391.5040, christina@on3pr.com
Alix Miller, 850.391.5040, alix@on3pr.com

Study Shows Anti-Discrimination Law Will Improve Economy In Florida
-Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the Florida Civil Rights Act would cause substantial economic growth and increase the skilled workforce in the state –

(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) – Thinkspot recently published a study, Florida’s Competitiveness for Talent Supply: Projecting the Economic Impact of Tolerance, which further confirmed the need for the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. Senate Bill 666 and House Bill 623, filed by Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth), Rep. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg), Rep. Rene Plasencia (R-Titusville) and co-sponsored by 38 members, adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

The study found there would be significant positive impact on Florida’s economy and labor force with an anti-discrimination law that includes the LGBT community:

  • Florida ranks 6th among states in economic freedom, but 36th in personal freedom — two fundamental indicators linked to both attracting talent supply and driving economic growth.
  • By enacting employee nondiscrimination legislation and boosting its attractiveness to skilled and innovative labor by expanding personal freedom, Florida can boost its total economic output by $5.46 billion over the next 10 years linked to the creation of 35,759 new jobs.
  • By enhancing its competitiveness for an educated and skilled workforce, the state’s productivity in terms of GDP is expected to add $3.46 billion to Florida’s economy over a 10-year period.
  • Results show that a conservative calculation of employer losses—based on lost productivity and turnover alone—reduces the collective bottom line in Florida by more than $362 million annually.

Staying competitive in a global marketplace requires attracting highly productive talent. The study found that American workers “vote with their feet” and choose to move to states with public policies that enhance personal freedoms. Florida’s current workforce gap is projected to grow, further challenging sustained economic growth, making the need for an educated, skilled and mobile workforce increasingly important.

“Recently Florida was ranked first in the nation for higher education by U.S. News and World Report. The state is graduating some of the most talented students in the country and we need them to stay in Florida to boost the economy,” said John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and CIO of Tech Data Corporation, and President of Florida Competes. “Competition is fierce for these future leaders, who look for both an inclusive work environment and a high quality of life. Florida needs to follow the lead of Fortune 500 companies and add sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination law.”

Business leaders of the Florida Competes coalition will be sharing these significant economic numbers and other information with key legislators this week in Tallahassee.

Seventy-five percent of Fortune 500 companies have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. With the passage of the Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville on February 14, 60 percent of Floridians are protected by local ordinances. However, local ordinances are a patchwork of protections and inconsistent, varying in scope and liability. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act establishes a uniform statewide law and benefits businesses who operate in multiple regions of Florida, and are currently navigating conflicting processes on workplace discrimination.

Top employers in the state have united to form Florida Competes, which aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Major Florida employers, including 10 Fortune 500 companies AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Raymond James, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 450 local businesses on board.

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About Florida Competes
Florida Competes, formerly known as the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefited from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FloridaCompetes.org or visit the coalition on Twitter or Facebook.

About Thinkspot Inc.
Founded by Dale A. Brill, Ph.D., Thinkspot Inc. is a Florida-based research and policy development consultancy. Services include structural economic development, workforce strategy, community-driven issue management, strategic thinking, as well as public policy analysis and synthesis. For more information, go to www.Thinkspot.co.