WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2016) – Gunster, one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service business law firms, is pleased to announce its successful participation on the topic of “Transgender Legal Protections: What Business Owners Need to Know” for the Association of Corporate Counsel – Central Florida Chapter’s lunch-n-learn on July 13, 2016, at Fleming’s Prime Steak House in Orlando.

Approximately 50 people attended the timely, interactive discussion designed to inform and educate in-house attorneys whose jobs it is to provide legal counsel to area businesses.

Gunster attorney Earnest DeLoach  Gunster attorney Sara Huff  Gunster attorney Joe Santoro

Gunster attorneys Earnest DeLoach Jr., Sara Huff, and Joseph G. Santoro discussed the quickly evolving legal landscape surrounding protections provided to transgender individuals – including analysis of current events, as well as agency and court interpretations of civil rights laws forbidding discrimination as those laws apply to students, customers, guests and employees.

“While our goal was to point out the many changes in legal definitions and concepts that have emerged in the area of transgender rights in recent years, the real value and success of the program were the thoughtful questions and comments from the audience, “ DeLoach says.

“The audience interaction we experienced reflected an intent and willingness by the business community in central Florida to apply the right policies to respect and protect the rights of an increasingly diverse workforce,” DeLoach adds.

Gunster attorneys at 7/13/16 transgender rights ACC CFL lunch
Gunster attorneys (L to R) Jeff Jonasen, Tico Perez, Sara Huff, Joe Santoro, Earnest DeLoach, and Richard Heinle at the Association of Corporate Counsel – Central Florida Chapter lunch-n-learn on July 13, 2016, at Fleming’s Prime Steak House in Orlando – speaking on the topic of “Transgender Legal Protections: What Business Owners Need to Know.”

The presentation included hypothetical exercises, and issues discussed during Q&A included:

  • Accommodating transgender individuals in the workplace
  • How to handle conflicts that may arise, e.g., due to a coworker’s religious beliefs
  • When to change the name at work for an employee in the process of transitioning
7/13/16 Gunster ACC CFL transgender rights program  Gunster transgender-rights ACC CFL 7/13/16 - room

Also reviewed were recent court rulings in the following types of circumstances:

  • Firing an individual for gender nonconformity
  • Restricting access to a common restroom

Examples of transgender bathroom access signage were also discussed, such as:

restroom sign - transgender  transgender - 'all gender restroom' sign

According to Douglas A. Kelly, President of the ACC CFL, feedback and follow-up from attendees mentioned the seamless, easy-to-digest presentation by the Gunster attorneys, as well as a desire for more.

“We are always grateful, as a group of in-house attorneys, to be able to attend presentations put on by top-tier law firms that are timely, informative and relevant to the needs of our corporations,” Kelly says.

“The Gunster presentation was just that, and we appreciated the opportunity to learn from them.”

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The Association of Corporate Counsel serves the professional needs of in-house counsel and is the premier source for information, networking opportunities and education for the in-house legal practitioner. ACC’s membership includes a diverse mix of more than 35,000 in-house lawyers who represent more than 10,000 companies in 85 countries worldwide. The ACC Central Florida Chapter offers several benefits over and above the substantial ACC resources available to members, including Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs tailored to chapter members’ needs; and networking opportunities with peers from other area community outreach programs such as The Legal Aid Society and Street Law. For more information, contact ACC CFL Executive Director Marshall Schirtzer at

About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 11 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With over 200 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at

Jenni Garrison
Director of Business Development & Corporate Communications


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