Agriculture Commissioner Changes Protection Policy

The Department of Agriculture has become the first in Florida's state government to ban discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.

Commissioner Nikki Fried revised the personnel policy adding sexual orientation and gender identity  to the list of workplace protections against discrimination.

Commissioner Nikki Fried says: “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 adds: “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 is applauding the move: "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.”

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