LGBTQ Folks Are Now Protected From Work Discrimination & Here's What It Means For Florida
Leaders in the community are pushing for their own act to pass.
It's a brand new day for LGBTQ rights in the Sunshine State. It was announced on Monday, June 15, that the Supreme Court employment discrimination ruling would also protect sexual orientation and gender identity. The victory has sparked interest in Florida LGBTQ groups and officials as they push for their own workplace act to be passed.
"This is just a start. Other forms of discrimination remain legal. Florida must pass the Competitive Workforce Act. Congress must pass the Equality Act," Stephen Gaskell, Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus President,. "This is how we end all anti-LGBTQ discrimination."
The ruling stated that LGBTQ employees were protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from job discrimination, meaning that an employer cannot fire an employee simply for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Twenty states had workplace protections in place, excluding Florida.
Moving forward, it's now unconstitutional to fire workers over sexual orientation and gender identity. With this ruling, there has been a renewed push for the state to pass the Florida Competitive Workplace Act.
Known officially as SB 430, the Florida Competitive Workforce Act would amend the state's Civil Rights Act of 1992 to include "sexual orientation and gender identity as impermissible grounds for discrimination in public lodging establishments, and public food service."
In 2019, the bill was sponsored by Sen. Darryl Ervin Rouson, Rep. Jennifer Webb, and Rep. Jackie Toledo, reaching a "historic milestone of support" when 73 legislators gave their cosponsorship to the act, according to Equality Action Inc.
Since then, the act died in the Senate but could be brought back to life in 2021 with growing interest after Supreme Court's announcement.
Rep. Mike Caruso and Rep. Carlos Smith, Florida's first LGBTQ Latinx legislator, have since spoken up about passing the act.
"That’s why the Florida legislature must immediately pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, Rep. Smith . "@GovRonDeSantis can show bold leadership by signing an executive order codifying this SCOTUS ruling and extending non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Floridians."