A study in Malta has said that while 60 per cent of respondents experience discrimination in the workplace, only half are aware this is the only area where they are protected.

While almost two-thirds knew that the law protected them on matters of employment, as required in the EU, fewer were aware that protection did not extend outside the office, the Times of Malta reports.

Just over half the respondents were aware of the existence of a National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, but among them there was confusion as to what its function was.

Lead researcher Gabi Calleja quoted several respondents’ examples of LGBT discrimination when she presented the findings at an NCPE conference.

One gay couple said they were made to leave a restaurant because of jeers from other patrons. In another incident, a gay man complained because hospital authorities would not acknowledge his long-term partner as his next-of-kin.

Calleja, who is the head of the Malta Gay Rights Movement, called for the government to replace existing equality legislation with a broader Equality Act that would align the levels of protection offered to different groups of people, including LGBT people.

Earlier this month, the Malta Gay Rights Movement launched a year-long anti-bullying campaign which includes public education on the effect of language on gay youth and addresses acceptance issues for parents of gays in the strongly Catholic country.

Last month, Malta’s ruling Nationalist Party signalled that it would introduce some form of legal recognition for gay couples.