2018 Bills

HB 283: Imposing Anti-Discrimination Law on Small Businesses

This bill failed in the House Business and Labor Committee.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it violates our principles and must therefore be opposed.

Three years ago, the Utah Legislature passed a bill that expanded existing anti-discrimination law to also prohibit employment- and housing-related discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Pitched as a “balance,” the measure tied into existing law that exempted small businesses from the requirements; companies with fewer than 15 employees did not have to abide by the restrictions.

House Bill 283, sponsored by Representative Becky Edwards, eliminates this exemption such that all anti-discrimination law—not just that dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity—would apply to every business employing at least one individual.

Small businesses—especially local, family-owned enterprises—would no longer have flexibility to determine with whom they wish to closely and intimately work as they develop and grow their business to scale (and to a point where, under current law, they would be large enough to have the anti-discrimination provisions triggered).

The 15-employee exemption has long been in Utah law. In 2003, Senator Ed Mayne attempted to apply the anti-discrimination law to all business. The bill failed to pass out of  committee.