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AT&T Florida latest major employer to join Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce

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AT&T Florida is the latest major employer to join the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) coalition, which seeks to end statewide LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Supported by more than 400 Florida businesses, the coalition is working to pass the Florida Competitive Workforce Act during the 2016 Legislative Session. The Act would help protect all Floridians, and attract more entrepreneurs, companies, and a diverse workforce to the state.

Recent polling found nearly 7 out of 10 Americans favor broad laws to protect the LGBT community against discrimination, and the FBCW believes the time has come for Florida to modernize current state law.

In adding the telecommunication giant’s name to the coalition, AT&T Florida President Joe York believes it is a step to attracting the most innovative and talented workforce, essential to remaining competitive in the marketplace and grow the state’s economy.

“AT&T established the first LGBT Employee Resource Group in corporate America in 1987 recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in making our company successful,” York said in a statement. “In order to do this, it is imperative that we protect the workforce from discrimination of any kind.”

While 35 counties and municipalities each passed local anti-discrimination ordinances – representing 55 percent of the population, or more than 10.9 million Floridians – a statewide measure has yet to be enacted. During last year’s Legislative Session, state Rep. Holly Raschein, a Key Largo Republican, and Democratic state Sen. Joe Abruzzo from Boynton Beach filed House Bill 120 and Senate Bill 45, which together make up the Act.

“Florida’s major employers have come together to stand shoulder to shoulder with the LGBT community and pass the Competitive Workforce Act,” said FBCW Campaign Manager Patrick Slevin. “It is an honor to have AT&T Florida on our team, helping Florida take the right step in bolstering the economy, and protecting its residents and visitors.”

As part of the FBCW, AT&T joins 34 major Florida employers, including Fortune 500 companies CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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