Prague, March 16 (CTK) – One third of gays and lesbians hide their sexual orientation at work, one fifth have experienced unfair approach to them and one third are afraid that their orientation will negatively affect their career, according to a survey the Business for Society (BPS) group presented on Thursday.

A memorandum that five companies signed on Thursday might help improve the situation, BPS chairwoman Pavlina Kalousova told journalists.

She said companies often say their gay and lesbian employees face no problem and that the environment in the company is open enough. This is actually not absolutely true, she said.

Companies, for example, offer measures to help their married employees harmonise their work and family life, but they do not offer the same to partners from registered same-sex couples, Kalousova said.

The BPS has found out that 10 percent of firms pay attention to gays and lesbians within their personnel policy.

The BPS wants to make more employers respect the diversity of sexual orientation among their staff.

The memorandum signed on Thursday is a milestone for gays and lesbians to start “to feel being themselves” at work, said Czeslaw Walek, head of the Prague Pride organisation.

The memorandum, signed by representatives of Vodafone, Ogilvy, Hilton, the BPS and Prague Pride, outlines five tasks the firms have pledged to observe.

They vowed to contribute to respect, tolerance and openness at workplace, introduce equal measures and advantages for all employees, and apply fair rules in labour recruitment and employees’ career rise and remuneration.

The firms also promised to promote the idea of diversity among other companies.

The diversity at workplaces in Central and Eastern Europe will be in focus of the annual Pride Business Forum due in June.

The Pride Business Forum was held in Prague in 2011 for the first time, and it was attended by some 70 firms’ representatives. Last year, the number of participants exceeded 250.