Florida Competes Commends the Florida Commission on Human Relations for Recognizing Federal Bostock Ruling as Florida Standard

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 4, 2021
Contact: Christina Johnson, 850.391.5040, [email protected]

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Competes, the business coalition working to secure LGBTQ rights in Florida, today applauded the state’s civil rights enforcement agency for affirming that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is illegal statewide. Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County written by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Florida Commission on Human Relation (FCHR) issued a notice clarifying that Florida’s civil rights protections include protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  

“On behalf of 11 Fortune 500 companies, 37 large employers and more than 450 small businesses, the Florida Competes coalition is ecstatic that the Florida Commission on Human Relations is following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning anti-LGBTQ  discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations,” said Florida Competes Chair, John Tonnison. “This pro-business, commonsense decision at both the state and federal levels is a huge step toward ensuring Florida remains competitive, and is respected in global marketplaces.”

“This is an incredible day for Florida businesses who are already a welcoming place for the LGBTQ community by prohibiting discrimination. The Florida Commission on Human Relations’ notice to implement the federal U.S. Supreme Court decision sends a clear message that discrimination will not be tolerated in our state. As former chair of the Florida Competes coalition, I believe this decision will build an even stronger and healthier Florida for our families, neighbors and visitors,” said Pat Geraghty, president and chief executive officer, Florida Blue and former chair, Florida Competes.

According to a PRRI study, 83 percent of Americans favor laws that would protect LGBT people against discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing. Florida was previously one of 28 states without comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, which is why the coalition has fought tirelessly to pass the bi-partisan Florida Competitive Workforce Act to implement these policies. 

“Orlando City SC is proud to support the Florida Competes coalition, whose mission is to ensure that all hardworking LGBT Floridians are protected from discrimination under state law. Thank you to the Florida Commission on Human Relations for clarifying federal law, which protects those who want to live, work, play and visit our great State,” said Orlando City SC Founder, Vice President of Community Relations & Foundation President, Kay Rawlins.

“Tech Data is committed to diversity and inclusion in our workplace and we are proud to see our home state of Florida embrace these values. We commend the Florida Commission on Human Relations for their decision to protect fairness and equality for our state’s workforce and their families,” said Rich Hume, CEO of Tech Data, the only Fortune 100 technology company headquartered in Florida. 

FCHR Commissioner Monica Cepero, who made the motion to affirm the Bostock ruling, praised her colleagues for clarifying fundamental protections for the LGBTQ community. “I couldn’t be more grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis for appointing me to the Florida Commission on Human Relations. It is noteworthy that the FCHR has recognized and embraced the Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock ruling clarifying fundamental protections for the LGBTQ+ community. In my nearly 30 years of public service, I can’t think of many more significant milestones that I have been honored to be a part of. Discrimination in any form is unacceptable and I’m proud to be a part of a Commission that values equal treatment and has the courage to do the right thing to protect the residents of the State of Florida.”

“Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our company culture, and is key to growing businesses in Florida, by protecting our greatest assets—our people. We applaud the Florida Commission on Human Relations for their important step in ensuring our state will protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation,” said Ken Krasnow, Vice Chairman of Institutional Services, Colliers International.

“The Florida Chamber believes in equality of opportunity and opposes any type of discrimination in the workplace. The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court back on June 15, 2020 and Florida Commission Human Relation’s affirmation on January 28, 2021 together signal that Florida has a business climate that is competitive and welcoming to all,” said Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson.

About Florida Competes

Florida Competes 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. Please go to www.FLCompetes.org for additional information, which may also be accessed here:

  • 83% of Americans favor laws that would protect LGBT people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations and housing. Majorities of Democrats (94%), Independents (85%), and Republicans (68%) favor them.
  • 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 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.

Florida Competes Coalition Composition

  • 450+ Small businesses
  • 37 Large businesses
    • Airbnb, Akerman, AmericanAirlines Arena, Bank OZK, Bilzin Sumberg, Carlton Fields, Carnival Corporation, Chamber SOUTH, Citrix Systems, Inc., Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, DTCC, Florida Apartment Association, Florida Blue, Florida Realtors®, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Florida State University, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Assoc., Haskell, HSN, Lyft, Miami Heat, Miramar/Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce, Mis en Place, On Top of the World Communities, Orlando City, Pembroke Park/West Park Chamber of Commerce, Pointe Group Advisors, Pop Yachts, Rollins College, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, University of North Florida, University of South Florida Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, Weston Chamber of Commerce and Winn Dixie
  • 11 Fortune 500 companies
    • AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Raymond James, Tech Data, Uber, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo

Florida Ordinances

  • 12.54 million Florida residents have protections in place (60% of population protected)
  • Twelve (12) counties have passed Human Rights Ordinances: 
    • Alachua, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Volusia Counties
  • Thirty-four (34) municipalities have passed Human Rights Ordinances or resolutions in support:
    • Atlantic Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Dunedin, Fernandina Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Greenacres, Gulfport, Haverhill, Jacksonville, Key West, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Worth, Largo, Leesburg, Mascotte, Miami, Miami Beach, Mount Dora, North Port, Oakland Park, Orlando, Pembroke Pines, St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, Sarasota, Tampa, Tallahassee, Tequesta, Venice, Wellington, West Palm Beach and Wilton Manors

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