Florida capitol in Tallahassee
The Florida State Capitol building. (Credit: traveler1116 / Getty Images)

A recently passed Florida law could have major implications for senior living providers’ diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the workplace, affecting what is covered in training programs and exposing employers to potential complaints, lawsuits and financial damages.

The Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (WOKE) Act was hailed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as a win for personal liberties. Signed by the governor April 22, the law takes effect July 1. It amends the Florida Civil Rights Act and the state’s education code. The governor said that the act targets “corporate wokeness” and the potential teaching of critical race theory in schools.

The law restricts the content that public and private employers with 15 or more employees can use in workplace training. Specifically, it prohibits employers from teaching eight concepts based on race, color, sex and national origin.

The act targets many topics featured in DEI workplace training. It allows employees subject to such training to file complaints with the Florida Commission on Human Relations and to file lawsuits for damages up to $100,000.

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care recently launched a survey on behalf of the Senior Living DEIB Coalition asking members to share information about their DEI efforts. The  includes NIC, the American Seniors Housing Association and Argentum and is developing a toolkit that will provide DEI best practices for senior living stakeholder organizations.