Tag Archives: Stop Woke Act

Employment Law Update: Florida’s “Stop WOKE” Act

Florida’s legislature has passed a law that will impact the manner in which employers conduct workplace training.

Under Florida House Bill 7/Senate Bill 148 (HB 7), nicknamed the “Stop Woke Act” (the “Act”), any employment practices or training programs that cause an individual to feel discomfort or distress by suggesting that they are responsible for actions “committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex or national origin,” could be considered an unlawful employment practice and subject an employer to liability. 

HB 7 closely mirrors former President Donald Trump’s 2020 Executive Order prohibiting divisive concepts in diversity training in the Executive Branch. The order was the subject of multiple First Amendment lawsuits, was enjoined nationwide by a federal court, and was ultimately revoked by President Joe Biden.  If the Act is signed into law by Governor DeSantis – which is likely to occur – similar legal challenges are expected.

Among other things, the Act, which applies to public and private employers with at least 15 employees, will amend the Florida Civil Rights Act to provide that subjecting a person, as a condition of employment, to training, instruction, or any other required activity that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such individual to believe any of the following concepts, constitutes discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin:

  1. Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin are morally superior to members of another race, color, sex, or national origin.
  2. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  3. An individual’s moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, sex, or national origin.
  4. Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race, color, sex, or national origin.
  5. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.
  6. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.
  7. An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions, in which the individual played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.
  8. Such virtues as merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindness are racist or sexist, or were created by members of a particular race, color, sex, or national origin to oppress members of another race, color, sex, or national origin.

The law does not prohibit discussion of these concepts as part of a course of training or instruction, provided such training or instruction is given in an “objective manner without endorsement of such concepts.”

Any employee who believes their employer has violated the Act can pursue a claim for relief, including damages and attorneys’ fees, under Fla. Stat., §760.11.

Once signed into law, the Act is set to take effect on July 1, 2022.  When and if that occurs, employers who offer training to employees on discrimination and harassment should be prepared to tailor such training to comply with the Act.

The full text of the Act can be found at:

If you have any questions about this or any other employment law matters, please contact Ellen Leibovitch.  Thank you.

Ellen M. Leibovitch

Board Certified Labor & Employment Lawyer

ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.

2101 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Suite 410

Boca Raton, Florida 33431

Main: 561-361-6566
Direct: 561-948-2479

[Bio] [V-card] [Directions]

eml@assoulineberlowe.com

www.assoulineberlowe.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Labor & Employment