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Florida Labor & Employment Lawyer > Blog > Employment Law > Proposed Florida Bill Would Bar Most Employers From Asking for Preferred Pronouns (May Face Lawsuit if Passed)

Proposed Florida Bill Would Bar Most Employers From Asking for Preferred Pronouns (May Face Lawsuit if Passed)


In January, legislation was introduced in the Florida House of Representatives that would bar many employers in the state from asking employees for their preferred pronouns. The bill—HB 599: Gender Identity Employment Practices—could face some legal challenges if passed into law. In this article, you will find a preview of the proposed law, where it stands in Tallahassee, and the potential implications if it is passed into law.

An Overview of the Proposed Law 

On January 9th, 2024, Representative Ryan Chamberlain (R-24th District) introduced HB 599. The bill is focused on the regulation of gender identity employment practices. More specifically, the bill calls for a reformed state law that prohibit many employers and contractors from:

  • Requiring the use of; or
  • Asking for preferred pronouns.

In addition, HB 599 would prohibit adverse personnel action on the basis of deeply held religious or biology-based beliefs. In effect, this means that the law would bar employers from punishing any worker—manager or otherwise—who refused to use a person’s preferred pronouns.

To be clear, HB 599 is not currently law in Florida. It still has a long way to go before it could take effect. That being said, the law is worth watching because it has the support of some important political leaders in the state capital.

 Opponents Contend HB 599 Runs Afoul of Federal Law 

Opponents of Florida’s HB 599 argue that it violates federal law as it is currently drafted. Specifically, they point to the Bostock v. Clayton County decision from the Supreme Court of the United States. The ruling extended Title VII protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Critics contend that HB 599—which seeks to restrict discussions and acknowledgements of gender identity in the workplace—directly undermines these protections. They assert the bill is an anti-LGBTQ+ measure that erodes inclusivity and equality. Even if passed and signed into law, a federal lawsuit may be filed to block the implementation of HB 599.

 Florida’s 2022 Stop Woke Act is Still Held Up in Litigation 

Florida’s 2022 “Stop Woke Act”—or as it is officially named: the Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act—is currently embroiled in legal challenges that have led to its enforcement being paused. The legislation, which was strongly supported by the state’s Republican leadership, is designed to limit discussions on race and gender in the workplace. It prohibits certain concepts in workplace training. An injunction was placed against the Stop Woke Act on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment rights due to its restrictions on speech. Litigation is still ongoing.

 Get Help From an Employment Law Attorney in Florida 

Employment law is complicated. Employers and employees need to know how to exercise their rights, meet their responsibilities, and protect their interests. If you have any questions about an employment law matter, an experienced Florida attorney can help.

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