(Tallahassee, Fla.) – The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition campaign manager Patrick Slevin today applauded the Village of Wellington, Palm Beach County’s 5th largest municipality, and the Town of Lake Clarke Shores for taking bold steps to ensure Florida’s LGBT community is protected from discrimination. Wellington passed a local Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) late Thursday, September 10, and Lake Clarke Shores passed Resolution #15-22 supporting freedom from discrimination for all individuals last evening. Wellington and Lake Clarke Shores join 22 other major cities and municipalities, along with 11 counties, which now have LGBT anti-discrimination protections in place.
“The coalition applauds both Wellington and Lake Clarke Shores who are the latest municipalities to join a statewide movement to protect Floridians from discrimination,” said Patrick Slevin, FBCW campaign manager. “Republicans and Democrats have come together in 35 municipalities to pass anti-discrimination ordinances that include gays and transgender. Nearly 55 percent of the state’s population is now protected at the local level, but we must pass state law to protect 100 percent of Floridians from discrimination. Our coalition is resolved to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act in this upcoming legislative session.”
At the state level, House Bill 45 and Senate Bill 120, filed by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) respectively, known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The bill is supported by the FBCW coalition comprised of 34 large employers, including Fortune 500 companies, and more than 400 local businesses.
While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on 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. There are now 35 Florida counties and municipalities who have passed anti-discrimination measures against the LGBT community, representing 55 percent of Florida residents.
Top employers in the state have united to form the Coalition that aims to grow Florida’s economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to the state with the promise of equal opportunity employment. Thirty-four major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo have joined, with more than 400 local businesses onboard.
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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. 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.
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 DTZ in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively. For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.
Eleven (11) counties have passed Human Rights Ordinances:
Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and Volusia.
Twenty-four (24) municipalities have passed Human Rights Ordinances or resolutions in support:
Atlantic Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Dunedin, Gainesville, Greenacres, Gulfport, Key West, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Worth, Largo, Leesburg, Miami Beach, Miami, Oakland Park, Orlando, St. Augustine Beach, Sarasota, Tampa, Tequesta, Venice, Wellington, Wilton Manors, and West Palm Beach.