Society backs ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity

Written on Jun 12, 2019

OSCPA staff report

Citing the importance of diversity and inclusion to successful business, The Ohio Society of CPAs this week backed an Ohio bill that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on May 22 heard testimony for Senate Bill 11 from more than 200 proponents, including representatives of businesses, unions, educators, human rights groups, religious groups, local governments and others. OSCPA provided the written testimony of Society President & CEO Scott Wiley, CAE, who said businesses are becoming increasingly intentional about their diversity and inclusion to become stronger and meet the needs of a changing public.

“From the perspective of The Ohio Society of CPAs, Sub. S.B. 11 is about helping to build a strong workforce,” Wiley wrote. “One of the biggest challenges I hear from CPAs in all corners of this great state is the ability to find and retain qualified workers. We believe that achieving LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policies at the state level will enable Ohio to better attract and retain individuals from the widest possible talent pool.”

The move to back the bill came upon the unanimous recommendation of The Ohio Society’s CPA-led Government Relations Advisory Council and the unanimous vote of its Executive Board. Other notable organizations supporting the bill include the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association and the Ohio United Way. Furthermore, OSCPA and many of its members belong to OhioBusinessCompetes, a coalition of more than 600 business entities committed to achieving an inclusive work climate to help Ohio’s economy.

Wiley cited a 2017 Deloitte study that found that 80% of workers consider diversity and inclusion to be an important factor in choosing an employer, and 72% would leave an organization for one they think is more inclusive.

He said a state law will make compliance easier for businesses.

“Over 20 Ohio municipalities have protection policies in place,” Wiley wrote. “For businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions, having varying requirements in place from city to city can be a significant challenge. Passage of Sub. S.B. 11 will not only give these Ohio employers certainty by having one law to follow, it will enable Ohio to better compete with the over 20 states that have already adopted similar laws.”

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