The Supreme Court will be deciding in the coming months whether or not the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sex, also protects Americans on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The decision will determine whether millions of lesbian, gay, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans will have job security. This consideration makes it all the more important that Florida and individual municipalities implement these protections on both state and local levels.
It is important that the federal government implements legislation that would broaden workplace protections. For instance, the federal government could implement the Equality Act which would provide protections for LGBTQ Americans.
The Human Rights Campaign organization has proposed this act to Congress with the intent to “amend existing civil rights law — including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and several laws regarding employment with the federal government — to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics.”
It passed in the House in May 2019 but has sat idle in the Senate ever since.
A Senate unwilling to act shows citizens that the federal government clearly does not take the job security of millions of Americans seriously.
If the federal government fails to protect the interests of its citizens, it is incumbent upon state and municipal governments to implement those changes themselves.
In the Florida Legislature, the Florida Competitive Workforce Act has been proposed which would prohibit employment discrimination in the state.
It has been postponed from being considered by the Florida Senate’s oversight and accountability committee. Considering the lack of federal protections, it is vital that the Legislature approves this measure.
The fight against discrimination is being fought at all levels of government. It is vitally important that these protections are implemented.
If the Supreme Court makes the controversial decision to not broaden workplace protection, it is important for swift action to be taken here at home.
Jared Sellick is a junior majoring in political science.