West Palm Beach officials have always led the way in terms of LGBT rights in the county and state. Their latest LGBT rights initiative: strengthening their Equal Opportunity Ordinance.

At the West Palm Beach City Commission meeting July 27, commissioners amended the city’s Equal Opportunity Ordinance to extend protection from discrimination to employees who work for small businesses.

The employees will be protected from discrimination based on race, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, and more.

The amendment takes effect following a final vote Aug. 10. 

Before, only employees who worked in businesses with 15 or more people were protected from discrimination. But now the number is between five and 14.

"Tonight, in a unified show of support, West Palm Beach City Commissioners took another step to protect women and minorities from discrimination in employment," said PBCHRC President and Founder Rand Hoch in a press release. "West Palm Beach has been at the forefront of protecting workers from discrimination for decades."

The request to broaden the ordinance came from PBCHRC. Over the past three decades, the organization has been responsible for implementing more than 140 laws and policies to provide equal protections, rights and benefits for the LGBT community.