Will Manuel Talks 11th Circuit Ruling on Florida Lawmakers “First Amendment Sin”


Media Mention

Bradley partner Will Manuel was quoted in Law360 on the 11th Circuit’s recent ruling that Florida lawmakers had violated the First Amendment in attempting to hinder employers’ ability to discuss race and sex during required workplace trainings.

Manuel said the court was aggressive in repudiating Florida's policy and legal arguments. "Even with the Eleventh Circuit being as conservative as they usually are, this is a very strong opinion [in] saying, 'However you might feel about diversity, equality and inclusion, you can't do this,'" he said.

Manuel suggested there will likely be a difference in how national employers that operate within the 11th Circuit approach DEI trainings going forward as opposed to how smaller businesses may react.

“[National companies] may just say, 'We're not going to change what we're going to do just because the State of Florida thought that they were going to make this kind of fuss about it,' and obviously now they're protected by the Eleventh Circuit," Manuel said. "Smaller employers may say, 'It's just not worth us diving off into this,' and you may have some cost-benefit analysis that goes on with smaller employers."

"A lot of times, I think, at least some of my clients have seen it as, 'We need to go ahead and check the box because we're going to make sure that we put this out there.' But now you might get some employees that would file a meritless lawsuit against you," Manuel explained. "The point being that there may be more litigation down the pike on this."

The full article, “11th Circ. Nix Of Florida's 'Stop WOKE' Act Is A Boost For DEI,” was published by Law360 on March 13, 2024.