In a decision that will impact LGBTQ workers in Houston and across the U.S., the White House announced on Jan. 26 that President Trump will retain an Obama administration executive order that instituted workplace protections for certain gay and lesbian employees. Gay rights groups had feared the Trump administration would reverse the protections.

The executive order, which protects LGBTQ employees or job applicants of federal contractors from discrimination, was signed by Obama in 2014. In recent days, drafts of a proposed order reversing the protections had been circulated around Washington, D.C., but the White House said Trump “is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.”

During the campaign, Trump vowed to reverse many of Obama’s executive orders, but the decision to keep LGBTQ protections in place indicates that some will remain on the books. Meanwhile, gay rights groups expressed caution despite the victory, noting that Trump has undermined the equality of LGBTQ refugees, Muslims, women and immigrants since taking office. A representative for the Human Rights Campaign wondered if the Trump administration would oppose executive actions that let government employees, companies or organizations funded by taxpayers to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

Houston LGBTQ employees facing workplace discrimination may find relief by speaking to an attorney about their case. Legal counsel could explain how to properly document incidents of discrimination and help file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In some cases, the EEOC might institute a lawsuit on the worker’s behalf while in others, the agency might give leave for the worker to file a private action.

Source: USA Today, “Trump to keep Obama executive order for LGBTQ workplace protections,” David Jackson, Jan. 31, 2017