According to a joint study of small and medium-sized business owners, just over half (51 percent) would have no problem hiring someone who doesn’t hide their LGBT identity, with 37 percent admitting it would be a significant factor in the decision not to bring them onboard.

Conducted by business magazine Inc. Russia and sociological research agency Omnibus, the study also discovered that only one percent think their company has an LGBT employee.

Speaking to online publication the Insider, lawyer Maxim Olenichev noted that, despite businesspeople admitting they wouldn’t want an LBGT employee, this stance is against the county’s workplace discrimination laws.

“In Russia, there is a ban on discrimination in labor relations,” Olenichev said. “The employer does not have the right to give preference to candidates on grounds that are not related to the business qualities of the future employee.”

However, in reality, it is very difficult to prove that aptitude for the job was not the real reason for being refused employment, Olenichev believes.

Unlike many other European countries, Russia’s workplace discrimination law does not explicitly name sexual orientation and gender identity, but is instead included under an umbrella term of “other factors not relevant to professional qualities of the employee.”

Last week, Russian MP Oksana Pushkina spoke out against “conservatism, fundamentalism, and homophobia” in government policy, explaining that it “never led any state to a happy future.” Inside Russia’s parliament, Pushkina is known for her support of LGBT issues, and recently spoke out against proposals to ban same-sex couples from marrying or adopting children.

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