Although much has been made in the local LGBT community about Hillsborough County's horrendous record when it comes to gay rights, the fact of the matter is that it still remains legal in most of Florida to fire someone who is gay, bisexual or transgender without cause. That's something that state Democratic Representative Joe Saunders (Orlando) and Republican Holly Raschein (Key Largo) would like to change, and their bill, the Competitive Workforce Act, would do that by updating the state's Civil Rights Act.
To aid in their effort they're getting support from some of the state's biggest corporations, calling themselves the Business Coalition for a Competitive Workforce. They issued this statement today:
“The link between strong anti-discrimination laws and the ability to draw the best and the brightest is the reason that 84% of the nation’s largest companies have adopted comprehensive anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. 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 benefited from adopting anti-discrimination policies. The Coalition looks forward to working with other companies, business advocates and legislative leadership to support the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.”
The coalition consists of such major businesses as Walt Disney World Resorts, Darden, CSX, TechData, Wells Fargo, Florida Blue, HSN, the University of North Florida, C1 Bank and law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt.
Twenty-six cities and counties in Florida do include the LGBT community in their human rights or anti-discrimination ordinances, including Tampa, St. Pete and Pinellas County.
The Civil Rights Act of 1992 in Florida already bars discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, handicap, or marital status.