Federal judge blocks part of ‘Stop WOKE’ law on grounds it violates corporate free speech

The STOP WOKE ACT states that schools and employers cannot make a person feel guilty or responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, gender or ethnicity. same nationality, and that companies cannot force their employees to take training. on these matters as a condition of their employment. Gov. Ron DeSantis called it “someone’s scapegoating because of their race.”

The ruling blocked part of the law targeting businesses on the grounds that the law’s wording “attacks ideas, not conduct.”

The state has defended the law, saying it does not prevent companies from providing such training, which is often about diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Employers [are] free to engage in, promote and pay for any speech they wish, including unduly biased speech targeted by law, and they leave volunteer employees free to hear and join,” the authors wrote. state attorneys last month. “All they’re preventing is the employer’s use of coercive economic leverage over its employees to make them an offer they can’t refuse: Listen to the corporate pitch or empty your desk. ”

DeSantis unveiled the measure, officially named the “Stop Wrongs To Our Kids and Employees Act,” last December. He loved a so-called “woke ideology” of “cultural Marxism” intended to “delegitimize American history and institutions.”

“They really want to tear at the fabric of our society and our culture and the ability of parents to direct the education of their children. So, it’s really, significant.

The decision came the same day a group of college professors and a college student filed a federal lawsuit challenging another part of the law restricting how race-related concepts are treated in education. Another education-related challenge is also pending before the Federal Court.

Plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit say the law constitutes “racially motivated” censorship that the Florida Legislature enacted, in large part, to stifle widespread demands to discuss, study and address systemic inequalities, following nationwide protests that sparked discussions of race and racism in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.

Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis, was killed by a police officer in 2020. His death sparked national and international protests.

During his December 2021 press conference, DeSantis blasted ideas such as critical race theory — an academic framework that examines the impact of racism on government policy — and diversity, equity, and inclusion. .

“No taxpayer money should be used to teach our children to hate our country or to hate themselves,” he said. The Florida Department of Education banned the teaching of CRT in public schools earlier that year.

Former President Donald Trump, in 2020, banned DEI training in government agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations with federal contracts. President Joe Biden rescinded this directive upon taking office.

Copyright 2022 WFSU. To learn more, visit WFSU.

About Charles D. Goolsby

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