Carnival Corporation joins coalition to protect gay and transgender Floridians from discrimination

Carnival Corporation joins other major Florida employers determined to recruit the best-trained, most innovative workforce

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce today welcomed another major Florida employer to its coalition. Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise company and one of the leading vacation companies in the world, has joined in support of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act and become part of a coalition of 22 major Florida employers.

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the gay and transgender community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. For this reason, top employers are backing the Competitive Workforce Act, which will give the state a competitive advantage in today’s evolving marketplace.

“Diversity is a business imperative,” said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. “The key to innovation is diversity of thinking… having people from different backgrounds and different cultural experiences who are organized around a common objective are far more likely to create breakthrough innovation than a homogenous group. That same diversity of thinking is a powerful advantage.”

Headquartered in Miami, Florida, U.S.A., and Southampton, England, Carnival Corporation & plc operates a fleet of more than 100 ships, with another seven ships scheduled for delivery between January 2015 and March 2017. With approximately 200,000 guests and 77,000 shipboard employees, there are more than 277,000 people sailing aboard the Carnival fleet at any given time.

Currently in Florida, 28 municipalities protect more than 50 percent of residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce believes that passing these protections statewide is a sound business strategy and will draw the best and the brightest workforce to our state.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cassidy Turley in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.  The 22 members of the coalition are the AmericanAirlines Arena, Bilzin Sumberg, C1Bank, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Carnival Corporation, CSX, Darden, Florida Blue, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Haskell, HSN, Marriott, the Miami HEAT, NextEra Energy, On Top of the World Communities, Raymond James, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Tech Data, the University of North Florida, Walt Disney World Resorts, Wells Fargo and Winn Dixie.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce 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 or expression. House Bill 33 by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key West) and SB 156 by Sen. Joe Abruzzo (R-Wellington) have been filed before the 2015 Florida Legislature. The coalition believes that the Florida Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies.  For additional information, please go to or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.