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Nikki Fried adds LGBTQ protections to department workplace policy

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After Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an anti-discrimination order for state employees that excluded protections for the LGBTQ community, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued a revised discrimination policy for state employees in her department.

The revisions add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of workplace protections for the Department's 4,000 employees. Florida civil rights laws don't explicitly protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination.

In a statement Friday, Fried said the revision to her Department's policy is "long overdue" and that her fellow Cabinet members should follow suit.  

"We are pledging today that our Department is committed to an inclusive culture of equality, in which every employee is hired, promoted, and respected on the basis of their merit," she said. "This is a common-sense, long-overdue measure that the majority of Fortune 500 companies have implemented, and the majority of Floridians agree with."

When asked about the exclusion of the LGBTQ community at a press conference Thursday, DeSantis said he was simply continuing the anti-discrimination policy that came before him under Gov. Rick Scott. 

"My workplace policy is really just one sentence: we hire based on merit." he said. 

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