Today, State Representative Javier Fernandez (D-Miami) filed a companion bill to Senator Joe Gruters’ Florida Inclusive Workforce Act (SB438) in the House. Representative Fernandez’s sponsorship gives the FIWA an opportunity to be considered in the upcoming legislative session. Representative Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey) will be the prime co-sponsor validating bipartisan support in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. As part of its growing legislative momentum, house legislators have quickly voiced their support of FIWA as co-sponsors.
“LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections in the workplace can be heard this session, which is why I’m excited to sponsor the Florida Inclusive Workforce Act,” said Rep. Javier Fernandez. “I’m looking forward to working with Senator Gruters, who I credit for offering a new strategy toward passing meaningful legislation to protect our LGBTQ workforce in Florida. I welcome the growing bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats of my bill. I want to especially thank Rep. Mariano for working as my prime co-sponsor, as well as a growing number of House Democrats and Republicans supporting our efforts. ”
“Florida Inclusive Workforce Act is the type of legislation Florida needs for economic and career development. It shouldn’t matter who an individual loves or what their gender identity is, when it comes to our workforce," said State Representative Amber Mariano (R - Port Richey). "The passage of the FIWA will send a strong signal across Florida and across the United States that Florida cares about protecting our LGBTQ community in the workplace. I’m proud to be a prime co-sponsor and will work tirelessly to get this legislation passed”
The Florida Inclusive Workforce Act (FIWA) focuses on ensuring that Florida remains competitive in retaining the best talent in its workforce by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Florida’s Civil Rights Act, helping to strengthen Florida’s economic future.
Legislation to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations was initially introduced in 2007 but failed to hit the Senate floor. The Florida Competitive Workforce Act followed in 2009, but unfortunately, in the past nine legislative sessions, the bill failed to be heard in the Florida House of Representatives. In 2015, there was one hearing in the Senate, which failed to pass.