LGBTQ Leaders Join SAVE in Lauding a Bi-Partisan Approach in Passing the Florida Inclusion Workforce Act (FIWA)
Today, Florida State Senator Joe Gruters introduced a Senate Bill to protect LGBTQ Floridians from discrimination in the workplace. The Florida Inclusion 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.
"Thanks to the efforts of Senator Gruters, the LGBTQ community has a new champion in the Florida Senate. Protecting our LGBTQ community from discrimination in Florida will take a bi-partisan effort that SAVE believes is the winning pathway for the LGBTQ community," said Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE. "Years of partisan attacks have killed any potential success for a comprehensive non-discrimination bill in Tallahassee," said Lima
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.
"For the past decade, passing protections for the LGBTQ community have not been a legislative priority," said former State Representative David Richardson. "Continuing to rely on a failed strategy and a bill that has floundered no longer makes sense."
"Senator Gruters’ bill is sharply focused on the key economic discrimination faced by LGBTQ Floridians – discrimination in the workplace," said retired judge Rand Hoch, President, and Founder of Palm Beach Human Rights Council. "Achieving this first step will open the door enabling us to then move forward with protecting our community in every part of Florida and in all areas of our lives."
"Policy change is often incremental," acknowledged Richardson. "I applaud Senator Gruters' for his fresh approach which is fully inclusive of the LGBT community."