Today, Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried announced important personnel policy revisions for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The revisions add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Department’s list of workplace protections against discrimination, such as race, religion, and disability.
The announced changes make the Department the first in Florida’s state government to ban discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. The revised policies ensure equal protection against discrimination in the workplace, recruitment, promotion and advancement, and in all Department programs, operations, and working conditions. The revised Department policies can be viewed here:
Commissioner Nikki Fried: “This is a brand new day in which our Department and its 4,000 employees are making a strong statement — we will not tolerate discrimination in our workplace on any basis, including sexual orientation and gender identity. We are pledging today that our Department is committed to an inclusive culture of equality, in which every employee is hired, promoted, and respected on the basis of their merit. This is a common-sense, long-overdue measure that the majority of Fortune 500 companies have implemented, and the majority of Floridians agree with. I encourage my fellow Cabinet officials to enact similar policies within their agencies and throughout our government.”
State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith: “This historic action finally aligns our Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with mainstream workplace diversity standards. It also sends a clear message that Commissioner Fried will not tolerate hatred or discrimination of any kind, including against LGBTQ Floridians — a non-controversial stance that no Cabinet-level official was ever willing to officially implement in the history of our state. Commissioner Fried did the right thing and should be applauded.”
Equality Florida Senior Political Director Joe Saunders: “Equality Florida applauds Commissioner Nikki Fried for this historic step. Today’s announcement marks the first time a member of Florida’s Cabinet has provided protections on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity — policies that bring the agency up to par with Florida’s leading Fortune 500 companies and largest employers. Not only are LGBTQ workplace protections common practice, but they are supported by the vast majority of Floridians. We call on Governor Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis to join Commissioner Fried in extending these same protections to all state employees and contractors. Let’s bring the Sunshine State into the sun. No one in Florida should be denied the chance to work because of who they are or who they love.”