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LGBT workers face uncertain legal landscape on discrimination

People in Florida who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may be worried about seeing an erosion of the civil rights they gained in recent years. When Donald Trump takes office as president, he could fulfill his promise to nullify executive orders made by his predecessor. Such actions could include ending the protections granted to LGBT federal workers.

Trump has also expressed support for a Congressional bill known as the First Amendment Defense Act. If passed by Congress and signed by the president, the act would permit businesses and health care organizations to justify discrimination against gay and transgender people because of religious beliefs.

Furthermore, Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, has been placed in charge of selecting people for numerous positions in the administration. In his position as a state governor, Pence signed a bill similar to the First Amendment Defense Act, and he could appoint people hostile to LGBT worker rights.

Legal protections remain tenuous for gay and transgender people because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not designate sexual orientation as a reason for protection. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets Civil Rights law to include LGBT people, the commission does not make law.

Someone who has been a victim of workplace discrimination may want to seek out an attorney knowledgeable about employment law. An attorney might be able to document acts of discrimination that could fall under a protected category such as sex, race or age discrimination. Evidence of harassment, demotion, being passed over for promotion and wrongful termination could be documented by an attorney for a lawsuit. Court papers could be filed by an attorney who might also approach the employer directly and attempt to negotiate a settlement prior to a trial.

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