HomePoliticsCourt rules Florida's 'stop woke' law restricting corporate diversity training is unconstitutional

Court rules Florida’s ‘stop woke’ law restricting corporate diversity training is unconstitutional

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A law in Florida under pressure from the Republican administration. Ron DeSantis Restricting diversity and race-based discussions in private workplaces is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court has ruled.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a Florida federal judge’s August 2022 ruling that the so-called “Stop WOKE” law violates the First Amendment as it applies to businesses and is inadmissibly vague.

“By limiting the restrictions to a list of ideas deemed offensive, the law targets speech based on its content. And excluding only speech that endorses one of these ideas penalizes certain viewpoints—the greatest sin of the First Amendment,” Circuit Judge Britt C. Grant wrote for the court.

The governor’s office was considering options for a further appeal on Tuesday.

“We disagree with the Court’s holding that employers can require that employees be taught – as a condition of employment – ​​that one race is morally superior to another,” the governor’s office said in an email. “The First Amendment doesn’t protect something like that. and the state of Florida should have every right to protect Floridians from racially hostile workplaces.”

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The law bans educational and business practices that claim members of an ethnic group are inherently racist and should feel guilty about past actions committed by others. It also rules out the idea that a person’s status as privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by their race or gender, or that discrimination is acceptable to achieve diversity.

DeSantis frequently referred to the law during his failed bid for president, using the slogan that Florida was the place where “you wake up to die.” Other parts of the law relating to education have also been challenged, but not blocked.

Lawyers in Florida had argued that the law prohibited behavior such as requiring employees to attend diversity meetings instead of speaking. The court disagreed.

“Banning speech on a wide variety of political topics is bad; banning speech on a wide variety of political positions is even worse,” Grant said in the opinion.

The lawsuit was filed by private entities, Clearwater-based Honeyfund.com and others, who alleged their rights to freedom of expression are being curtailed because the law infringes on corporate training programs that emphasize diversity, inclusivity, eliminating bias and preventing harassment in the workplace. Companies with fifteen or more employees may face civil lawsuits for such practices. Honeyfund is involved in marriage registration.

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