UNITED STATES NEWS

Court rules Florida’s “stop woke” law restricting business diversity training is unconstitutional

Mar 5, 2024, 9:23 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A Florida law pushed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that limits 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” act violates the First Amendment as it applies to businesses and is impermissibly vague.

“By limiting its restrictions to a list of ideas designated as offensive, the Act targets speech based on its content. And by barring only speech that endorses any of those ideas, it penalizes certain viewpoints — the greatest First Amendment sin,” Circuit Judge Britt C. Grant wrote for the court.

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

“We disagree with the Court’s opinion that employers can require employees to be taught—as a condition of employment—that one race is morally superior to another race,” the governor’s office said in an email. “The First Amendment protects no such thing, and the State of Florida should have every right to protect Floridians from racially hostile workplaces.”

The law prohibits teaching or business practices that it says contend members of one ethnic group are inherently racist and should feel guilt for past actions committed by others. It also bars the notion 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 unsuccessful run for president, with the slogan that Florida was where “woke goes to die.” Other parts of the law involving education have also been challenged but have not been blocked.

Florida attorneys had argued that the law banned conduct, such as requiring employees to attend diversity meetings, rather than speech. The court disagreed.

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

The lawsuit was filed by private entities, Clearwater-based Honeyfund.com and others, claiming their free speech rights are curtailed because the law infringes on company training programs stressing diversity, inclusion, elimination of bias and prevention of workplace harassment. Companies with 15 or more employees could face civil lawsuits over such practices. Honeyfund is in the wedding registry business.

United States News

Associated Press

Ex-Philadelphia police officer pleads guilty in shooting death of 12-year-old boy

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A fired Philadelphia police officer pleaded guilty Friday to murder in the shooting of a fleeing 12-year-old boy, who prosecutors have said was on the ground and unarmed when the officer fired the fatal shot. Edsaul Mendoza also pleaded guilty to possession of an instrument of crime as part of a plea […]

36 minutes ago

Associated Press

Video of 2 bear cubs pulled from trees prompts North Carolina wildlife investigation but no charges

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A video of people pulling two bear cubs from a tree in North Carolina as one person posed for a photo with one of the wild animals prompted an investigation, but a state wildlife official said Friday that no charges will be filed. When North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission staff responded […]

53 minutes ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a Manhattan Criminal Court on April 19, 2024. A full jury was...

Associated Press

Full jury of 12, with 6 alternates, seated for Donald Trump’s criminal trial

A full jury was seated Friday in Donald Trump’s hush money case, the first criminal trial for a former president in U.S. history.

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Attorneys argue that Florida law discriminates against Chinese nationals trying to buy homes

An attorney asked a federal appeals court on Friday to block a controversial Florida law signed last year that restricts Chinese citizens from buying real estate in much of the state, calling it discriminatory and a violation of the federal government’s supremacy in deciding foreign affairs. Attorney Ashley Gorski, representing four Chinese nationals who live […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

A convicted rapist is charged with murder in the killing of a Connecticut visiting nurse

A convicted rapist was charged with murder and attempted sexual assault Friday in the killing of a visiting nurse at a Connecticut halfway house for sex offenders in October — a crime that spurred calls for better safety measures for home health care workers. Authorities added the charges against Michael Reese, 39, as he appeared […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Catholic priest resigns from Michigan church following protests over his criticism of a gay author

BEAL CITY, Mich. (AP) — A Catholic priest has resigned as pastor of a church in a small central Michigan community, the result of weeks of controversy following his publicly expressed regret that a gay author had read a book to preschool children. Gay rights activists and others have held regular protests outside St. Joseph […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Court rules Florida’s “stop woke” law restricting business diversity training is unconstitutional