Small Business Owners Support Nondiscrimination Policies to Improve Economy

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Christina Johnson,
Alix Miller,

Small Business Owners Support Nondiscrimination Policies to Improve Economy

(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) – This Saturday, November 25 marks Small Business Saturday, a day when people are encouraged to shop locally and support small businesses. There are approximately 2.4 million small businesses in Florida, playing an integral role in the economic vitality of the state. Florida Competes, a coalition of more than 450 small businesses as well as 10 Fortune 500 companies and 30 large corporations recognizes those businesses, small and large, who have comprehensive nondiscrimination policies in place to protect their employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

A new poll, conducted for Small Business Majority and released November 16 found that the clear majority of Florida small business owners support a ban on discrimination against LGBT employees and customers. Furthermore, they reported that a majority of small business owners believe laws that permit discrimination would hurt their business bottom line by not attracting the best and brightest for employment. Below are additional findings:

  • 73% of Florida small business owners would favor a federal law protecting LGBT people from discrimination in places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, hotels and other businesses open to the public.
  • 69% of Florida small business owners would support a Florida state law preventing employment discrimination and 63% would support a federal law.
  • 53% of Florida small business owners say that laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity help attract and retain employees, while 56% feel that such laws contribute to a robust employee pool.
  • 51% of Florida small business owners agree that nondiscrimination laws improve the business bottom line by attracting the best and brightest employees, regardless sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Small business owners recognize that to find the most talented employees, they need to ensure their workplace has nondiscrimination policies in place, said Florida Competes spokesperson Christina Johnson. “Small businesses understand how discriminatory policies can adversely affect the business bottom line. This Saturday we encourage people to ‘shop small,’ and support small businesses that treat everyone equally and fairly.”

“At The Loop Pizza Grill, our employees are recruited based on their merits, and retained and promoted based on their job performance, said Mike Schneider, co-founder, based in Jacksonville. “We believe in order to hire the best employees, we must create an open, diverse work environment for everyone to grow. It’s not just good business sense, it’s the right thing to do.”

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.

The Florida Competitive Workforce Act (SB 66 / HB 347), sponsored by Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) and Reps. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg) and Rene Plasencia (R-Titusville), aims to modernize the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 by adding sexual orientation and gender identity. The protections currently exist only on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, marital or disability status.


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 benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to or visit the coalition on Twitter or Facebook.