HB 283: Imposing Anti-Discrimination Law on Small Businesses
This bill failed in the House Business and Labor Committee.
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.