Florida is sending mixed messages when it comes to protecting GLBT rights in the workplace. There are currently no state laws that make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. However, about 55 percent of Floridians live in areas that afford GLBT protections through local government intervention, including here in Broward County.
Sad news came last week when it was relayed that a bill making its way through the state House of Representatives aimed at protecting the rights of Florida's LGBT community would not likely receive a hearing this year. The bill seeks to provide such individuals with basic protections against discriminatory practices and unfair treatment in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation, age, disability and race.A key player in the formation of the "Competitive Workforce Act" (House Bill 361) has been an organization by the name of Equality Florida. Their director of public policy, Mallory Wells, informed the news media last week that due to the high number of new lawmakers in their first year of service, the focus of her organization was forced to shift during this legislative session to networking with and educating these individuals on fundamental issues affecting the LGBT community. Wells believes such action was necessary before pushing for specific legislation like the Competitive Workforce Act.