UPDATE: Florida’s DE&I prohibitions blocked by federal judge
UPDATE: Florida’s Prohibition on Certain DE&I Trainings as Condition of Employment blocked by Federal Judge.
On July 1, 2022, House Bill 7, went into effect in Florida prohibiting employers with fifteen (15) or more employees from requiring some types of diversity, equity and inclusion training for their employees which endorse eight specific concepts about discrimination. A lawsuit, together with a motion for preliminary injunction was filed by Honeyfund.com, Inc. and others (including diversity and inclusion training consultants) alleging that the Act violates their right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. On August 18, 2022, Chief Judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida Mark E. Walker granted the motion for a preliminary injunction, prohibiting enforcement of the law until further notice, citing that the law violates freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. A copy of the 44-page opinion can be found here, where Chief Judge Walker refers to Florida as the “First Amendment upside down”, citing Netflix’s hit streaming show Stranger Things, and states that the Court is once again called upon to pull Florida back from the brink.
Employers should continue to monitor the situation as it develops and consult legal counsel with any questions or concerns as to their specific situation.
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.
By Megan Butz
General Counsel, HR Compliance, Checkwriters
Megan joined Checkwriters in 2020 and is responsible for reviewing, revising, and implementing internal policies of the company, advising on human resource, employment, and labor matters, and monitoring and publishing state and federal legal updates to the Checkwriters News and Compliance Center for distribution to thousands of clients around the country. Before joining Checkwriters, Megan served as a judicial law clerk for the justices of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court performing legal research and writing, followed by private practice in Cape Cod.