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Major Florida Employers Commend City of North Port for Banning LGBT Discrimination

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition today recognized the North Port City Council for its recent passage of a Human Rights Ordinance, which bans discrimination against gay and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations. With a 3-1 vote in favor of the ordinance, North Port, located in Sarasota County, Fla., became the 36th municipality in the Sunshine State to offer such protections.

“Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce recognizes local governments, such as North Port, for supporting good public policy that fosters a pro-business environment,” said campaign manager, Patrick Slevin. “With the addition of the North Port ordinance, 11 million Floridians live in areas where protections for the LGBT community exist. The coalition aims to update state law so there is one uniform anti-discrimination law that blankets the state, providing consistency for businesses and employees, alike.”

While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, gay and transgender people are currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. State Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Sen. Joe Abruzzo (D-Boynton Beach) filed House Bill 45 and Senate Bill 120, respectively, to update the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the law. Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce is a coalition of 34 large employers, including Fortune 500 companies, and more than 400 local businesses, that have joined forces to push for passage of the legislation, commonly known as the Competitive Workforce Act.

With the passage of the North Port ordinance, 36 counties and municipalities now offer protections, covering 56 percent of the state’s population. The bill would create a uniform law across the state, a move that major employers say is necessary for Florida to attract and retain talent and new jobs. Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce believes that passing statewide protections will give Florida a competitive advantage in today’s evolving marketplace.

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About Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce

The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The coalition believes that the Florida Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies.

The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cushman and Wakefield in Tampa. They serve as president, secretary and treasurer of Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, respectively.  For additional information, please go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com or visit the coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

FBCW Coalition Members / Florida Fortune 500 (9) and Major Companies (26):

Fortune 500 – AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo. Major Companies – Akerman, AmericanAirlines Arena, Bilzin Sumberg, C1Bank, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Carnival Corporation, Chamber SOUTH, Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Florida Blue, Florida Realtors®, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Haskell, HSN, Miami Heat, Orlando City, On Top of the World Communities, Pointe Group Advisors, Raymond James, Rollins College, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, University of North Florida, University of South Florida Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, and Winn Dixie. For a list of the more than 400 local Florida businesses, go to www.FLCompetitiveWorkforce.com.

Florida Counties (11) and Municipalities (25) with Human Rights Ordinances in place:

Counties – Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Volusia. Municipalities – Atlantic Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Dunedin, Gainesville, Greenacres, Gulfport, Key West, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Worth, Largo, Leesburg, Miami Beach, Miami, North Port, Oakland Park, Orlando, St. Augustine Beach, Sarasota, Tampa, Tequesta, Venice, Wellington, Wilton Manors, and West Palm Beach. The population of these counties and municipalities with HRO protections already in place represent 11 million of Florida’s 19 million residents, or 56 percent.

Contact: Courtney Heidelberg, courtney@on3pr.com, 850.391.5040

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