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Proposal could spark discrimination based on sexual orientation

In Florida and other states across the U.S., the laws surrounding LGBTQ discrimination at work are murky. It's a civil rights violation if a person is penalized for their sexual orientation. Still, some employers discriminate against LGBTQ people.

Proposals from the Trump administration will allow religious beliefs to be considered by organizations working for the government as they make employment choices. Concerns abound that allowing hiring and firing to be based on religious beliefs will result in discriminatory behavior. If it goes into effect, this proposal will apply to a group or company that identifies itself as having a religious purpose. Technically, discrimination will still be illegal. However, it is perceived as potentially serving as a way to circumvent LGBTQ protections that were implemented by the Obama administration.

The American Civil Liberties Union says that almost 25% of U.S. workers are employed by a company that has a contract with the federal government. This proposal could give these businesses the freedom to mistreat LGBTQ employees with tacit approval from the government. According to the Labor Department, the proposal simply falls in line with Supreme Court decisions that addressed similar concerns.

Although this is currently a proposal and not yet policy, it's important for workers understand their rights. While there have been increasing attempts to provide people with protections from retaliation, the worry that employers will penalize workers for speaking up remain. This new proposal does nothing to alleviate that concern. If a worker is confronted with this type of discrimination, a lawyer who deals with LGBT workplace discrimination cases could provide valuable assistance.

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