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LGBTQ+ Friendly Employer 2019

The LGBTQ+-Friendly Employer Awards recognize, motivate, and raise the profile of employers whose measures aim for the better inclusion of LGBTQ+ employees in the Czech Republic. Strategic approaches as well as specific projects and tools that support LGBT employees’ inclusion are evaluated, including the degree of support from company management and  internal/external communication.

First place: Vodafone

The jury appreciated the company’s overall strategy, special emphasis on the needs of LGBTQ+ people in other diversity and HR activities, local implementation of the global strategy, as well as the active involvement of company management and employees. Vodafone can also serve as an example in benefits for LGBTQ+ people, as well as internal/external communications. The company is actively and financially involved in supporting non-profit projects for the benefit of gays and lesbians outside the company, such as the S barvou ven counselling centre. Vodaphone also supports activities outside Prague, such as educational lectures and promoting petitions for the Jsme fér campaign. 

Second place: Accenture

The jury praised Accenture for taking a very proactive approach to reconciling benefits and conditions for LGBTQ+ colleagues. With the support of employees and management, the company has launched activities and projects to help create a LGBTQ+-friendly environment, which is proactively supported by the CEO of Accenture’s Czech subsidiary as well as other managers. The company supported the sharing of best-practice among employers as part of the Pride Business Forum, and employees can attend Pride at Accenture group events. Most members of Czech Accenture management are officially internally registered as ‘LGBTQ+ Allies’, and show support for LGBTQ+ inclusion with rainbow stripes on their entry cards.

Third place: ExxonMobil

The company proactively supports employees in a wide-range of situations. The jury also appreciated that – in addition to an employee group – “transgender guidelines” were also introduced last year, specifically designed for those undergoing gender realignment. The company supports all employees with equal benefits, and takes into account LGBTQ+ needs. The company’s top management and CEO are actively involved, while with the company’s support employees organize various activities such as the Fun & Run and Bake & Sale whereby charitable proceeds are donated to Domu světla. The company organizes internal campaigns for tolerance for all employees, and issues a newsletter for group members regardless of sexual orientation.

Special prizes

Employee-driven initiatives 2019: ExxonMobil

The jury praised the employees’ LGBTQ+-related activities. As part of the Pride Committee employee group, employees – with the company’s support – organize presentations (on issues such as LGBTQ+ families, marriage for all, prejudice), involvement in events, and LGBTQ+-themed campaigns. All employees – regardless of sexual orientation – are involved in the group and activities.

Most-improved 2019: innogy

innogy has long identified issues of diversity and inclusion, supporting all groups under its Diversity Charter. In 2018, the company set about highlighting LGBTQ+-themes by organising discussions for employees in Prague and Brno, launched the all innogy LGBTQ+ platform employee group, and offers employees opportunities to participate in activities (e.g. Fun & Run). A key step was also an evaluation and harmonisation of company benefits to reflect LGBTQ+ colleagues in the collective agreement. That innogy was one of the first production companies involved in LGBTQ+ rights was also taken into account by the jury when evaluating the company’s activities. 

LGBTQ+ Workplace Equality Heroes 2019

This is awarded to individuals and management members of companies who actively promote equality for LGBTQ+ employees – both in their companies and proactively through other initiatives. 

Of the ten shortlisted, five were awarded:

Martin Hausenblas

Position: co-founder and member of the supervisory board
Company: Adler International

​As an open supporter of LGBTQ+ equality, Martin serves as an inspiration for other business people. As an ambassador of diversity and tolerance, his companies encourage involvement in pro-LGBTQ+ public initiatives: Liftago partnered the Prague Pride Festival and Adler partnered the Fun and Run Against Homophobia. Last year, he participated in a discussion at the Czech Republic’s EU Representation with Commissioner Věra Jourová regarding prerequisite cooperation between companies and the public sphere.  

Roman Kocián

Position: owner and CEO
Company: Primeros

As a long-term supporter of LGBTQ+ equality, Roman’s company supports many non-profit LGBTQ+ community-focused initiatives – especially the Czech AIDS Society and Prague Pride. Roman has addressed the Pride Business Forum several times, and last year personally supported the Jsme fér campaign and led his team’s involvement. Roman is an example of a leader who fearlessly leverages the LGBT topic in his company’s marcom.  

Christian Noll

Position: General Manager, GTS
Company: IBM Central and Eastern Europe

​Christian personally initiated, coordinated, and delivered a letter to Prime Minister Babiš in which IBM and other companies supported a proposal to legislate marriage for gay and lesbian couples in the Czech Republic. He also held a press conference in cooperation with Jsme fér and Vodafone to jointly promote this important step in mainstream media. Christian has been actively promoting LGBTQ+ rights for years by participating in the Pride Business Forum and related activities. He also supports non-profit organizations in the Czech Republic as a volunteer.

Alena Sochorová

Position: Enterprise Commercial Lead
Company: Microsoft Czech Republic & Slovakia Central and Eastern Europe

Alena is an example of long-term commitment to diversity and LGBTQ+ equality at work. Already in her previous tenure at Accenture, as an ally and member of senior management, she worked to promote the issue and involve other managers. She has also brought this commitment to Microsoft, personally committing the company as part of the Pride Business Forum initiative as well as motivating other members of the company’s management. She is a familiar presence – accompanied by colleagues as well as her son – at the Prague Pride parade.

Edita Šilhánová

Position: Legal & Corporate Affairs Director CZ, SK, HU
Company: Pivovary Staropramen

​Edita advocated that Staropramen support the Prague Pride festival, as one of the first companies in the Czech Republic to publicly do so. Flying in the face of numerous shocked and negative reactions from the public and traditional beer drinkers, this support not only continued but also inspired many other companies to sign up. As a regular participant at Pride Business Forum events, Edita’s involvement sets a sterling example among production companies in our country.

The award ceremony took place on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at the residence and in the presence of US Ambassador Stephen B. King.