Florida: Private Employers May Continue Traditional Trainings Despite Stop W.O.K.E Act
All Private Employers with FL Employees
August 18, 2022
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Private employers in Florida can carry on with traditional diversity, equity, and inclusion; discrimination; and harassment in the workplace trainings for now. Earlier this year, the Stop W.O.K.E. Act was enacted to prohibit certain traditional training concepts unless they were given in an objective manner and did not include concepts that were specifically outlawed by the Act. Specifically, the Act prohibits workplace training that teaches individuals they are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously”; that people are privileged or oppressed based on race, gender, or national origin; or that a person “bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress” over actions committed in the past by members of the same race, gender, or national origin.
A federal judge has now blocked the portion of the law that placed these limitations on private employers. The judge ruled that the Act infringes on the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression by prohibiting speech topics like racial inclusion and gender equity in training programs. This ruling temporarily blocks Florida’s Attorney General and state regulators from enforcing the restriction on private employers. The State of Florida has since filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Employers should continue monitoring the situation for updates.
- Evaluate training programs and objectives for possible updates.
- Consult with legal counsel on what the injunction means for training programs.
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