Equality Florida on Monday announced the launch of Florida Business Coalition for a Competitive Workforce, a group of businesses “aimed at passing a bipartisan bill that would ban anti-gay and gender-based discrimination.”
Among the coalition members are Walt Disney World, Darden and Wells Fargo.
“We are proud to see so many of Florida’s largest employers taking a stand to encourage the legislature to pass the Competitive Workforce Act,” Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith said in a statement. “Increasingly we hear from companies that are contemplating relocation or expansion, and they want reassurance that their diverse work force will be able to live in a state where they and their families will be treated fairly. The corporate culture understands that top talent look not only at a company’s internal policies, but also at the community they will call home.”
Here is the complete news release from Equality Florida:
The Competitive Workforce Act (HB 239/SB 348) would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
The legislation, which is sponsored in the House by Representatives Joe Saunders (D-Orlando) and Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and by Senator Joe Abruzzo (D-Wellington) in the Senate, aims to grow the economy by attracting and retaining the best workers to Florida with the promise of equal opportunity employment.
Since recruiting and retaining talent is critical to our long-term business success, Coalition members understand that Florida employers must attract qualified and diverse applicants who reflect the diverse population of the state. 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 benefitted 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.
* Of the Fortune 500 companies that have responded to the 2014 HRC Corporate Equality Index, 84% have inlude protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Coalition is in formation. Current roster includes:
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt
University of North Florida
Walt Disney World Resorts