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Florida lawmakers consider many anti-discrimination bills: Part II

Earlier this week, we wrote that Florida lawmakers have recently proposed at least five bills that would prohibit specific discriminatory actions by employers in the state. If passed, these bills would level the playing field for many struggling Florida residents including the GLBT community and those whose jobs were affected by the recession.

Our last post focused on a bill that seeks to prohibit employers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We also discussed a bill that would ban employers from discriminating against new job applicants who are currently unemployed.

Because so many people are seeking work, a number of employers have begun to discriminate based on factors which have little to do with an applicant's ability or skills.

As one example, legislators are considering a bill that would prohibit "the use of a job applicant's personal credit history as a hiring criterion." Many have argued that one's credit history has little to do with their performance in the workplace, and is also not a reliable indicator of their level of personal or financial responsibility. Many uncontrollable factors could negatively impact a person's credit history.

Two other bills are aimed at helping those with a criminal history overcome that stigma and obtain employment.

A Senate bill would prohibit a public employer from considering or inquiring about an applicant's criminal record until after the applicant has been selected for a job interview. Another bill would provide a tax incentive to employers who choose to hire an applicant with a previous felony conviction.

It is heartening to see so much legislation aimed at ending workplace discrimination in Florida. Hopefully, these bills will pass and we will soon see a more fair and productive workplace culture throughout the state.

Source: The Florida Independent, "Legislators roll out bills to end employment discrimination," Ashley Lopez, Nov. 1, 2011

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