TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Friday added sexual orientation and gender identity to workplace protections at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Fried, the lone Democrat to hold one of the state’s three Cabinet positions, is the first to add such protections to hiring rules that address race, religion and disability.
“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,” Fried said in a statement. “This is a common-sense, long-overdue measure that the majority of Fortune 500 companies have implemented, and the majority of Floridians agree with.”
Joe Saunders, senior political director of Equality Florida, called on Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis to extend the same protections to state employees and contractors.
“No one in Florida should be denied the chance to work because of who they are or who they love,” Saunders said in a statement.