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Legal ground could be shifting under feet of LGBT workers

Some California residents who are concerned about workplace discrimination have interpreted the removal of content about lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people from federal websites since the inauguration of President Trump as worrisome. The director of Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs said that the new administration's stance on LGBT rights remains unpredictable. He said there had been talk of repealing executive orders issued by Obama and scaling back regulations by 75 percent.

Activists have expressed specific concern about Executive Order 13672, which barred federal government contractors from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. It expanded upon the executive order issued in 1965 that established protection for employees from unfair treatment because of race, sex, color, national origin or religion. The order currently provides protection to approximately 28 million workers under federal contracts.

Many LGBT people employed in private industry do not have legal protection from discrimination. The senior counsel for the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law said that only 22 states have laws that prohibit employers from discrimination against workers because of their sexual orientation. Twenty of the 22 states offer protection to transgender workers. LGBT workers outside of those states have little or no legal guarantee of fair treatment.

Workplace discrimination can take many forms from wrongful termination to being skipped over for promotions. A person who has missed opportunities for employment, higher pay or better hours because of the employer's hostility on the grounds of sexual orientation may want to meet with an attorney to see if the filing of a workplace discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would be an advisable initial step to take.

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