Diversity and Equality Policy

The Oxfordshire Science Festival Ltd (OSF) is committed to a policy of treating all its employees, job applicants, contract-partners and volunteers (collectively referred hereafter as ‘partners’) and public audiences (‘customers’) equally and fairly.

Our policy is to ensure that no individual or group of people working for or associated with OSF or IF Oxford receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of ‘protected characteristics’, which are:
• age
• being or becoming a transsexual person
• being married or in a civil partnership
• being pregnant or on maternity leave
• disability
• race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
• religion, belief or lack of religion/belief
• sex
• sexual orientation

OSF employees, trustees, volunteers and partners have a duty to co-operate with OSF to ensure that this policy is effective and adhered to, thereby ensuring equal opportunities and to prevent discrimination or intimidation, which may manifest as harassment, bullying or victimisation (see below.)

Serious breaches of the equal opportunities policy will be treated as potential gross misconduct and could render the relationship between OSF and any employee, trustee orpartner to be terminated. Employees should also bear in mind that they could be held personally liable for any act of unlawful discrimination.

OSF will employ and promote employees, or work with partners or customers, on the basis of their abilities and qualifications without regard or bias to any of their protected characteristics.

Our partners have a duty to co-operate with OSF to ensure that this policy is effective to ensure equal opportunities and to prevent discrimination.

Grievances and complaints procedure

Employees, trustees and partners should draw the attention of the Director of the Festival or the Chair of Trustees to suspected discriminatory acts or practices, who will enrol Trustees to determine what action, if any, will be taken. This will enable each situation to be investigated thoroughly, while treating the parties involved fairly and with sensitivity.

Complaints should be raised promptly and may be escalated by or on behalf of the Festival Director or the Chair of Trustees to the Board of Trustees.

All allegations of discrimination will be dealt with seriously, confidentially and speedily. OSF will not ignore or treat lightly grievances or complaints about unlawful discrimination from employees, trustees or partners.
No party may victimise or retaliate against an employee, trustee, partner or customer who has made allegations or complaints of discrimination or who has provided information about such discrimination. Such behaviour will be treated as potential gross misconduct. All parties should support colleagues who suffer such treatment and are making a complaint.

Employees, trustees, volunteers or partners will not be penalised for raising a grievance, even if it is not upheld, unless the complaint was both untrue and made in bad faith.

For further information

For the avoidance of doubt

Direct discrimination occurs when, because of one of the protected characteristics, someone is treated less favourably than others. Treatment would still amount to direct discrimination if it were based on a perceived characteristic or an individual is associated with a third party with a protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination is treatment that may be equal in the sense that it applies to all individuals, but which is discriminatory in its effect a group of people. Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) is in place and puts someone at a particular disadvantage when compared with persons who do not share a protected characteristic.

OSF will take all reasonable steps to eliminate direct discrimination in all aspects of employment and service provision.
Harassment is any unwanted conduct that affects the dignity of any worker. It could be an isolated incident or persistent and may be related to a ‘protected characteristic’. Harassment may be intentional or unintentional; the key is that comments or actions are looked upon as humiliating and unacceptable by the recipient.

Bullying may take the form of offensive, abusive, malicious or intimidating behaviour or misuse of power with the intention of undermining, humiliating or belittling the person it is being directed towards. Bullying and harassment may be obvious or insidious. They can happen face-to-face or by phone, post or email.

Victimisation is when someone is treated badly as a result of a complaint about discrimination, whether related to themselves or another person.

Monitoring equal opportunity

OSF will regularly monitor the effects of selection decisions and personnel practices and procedures in order to assess whether equal opportunity is being achieved. This will also involve considering any possible indirectly discriminatory effects of its standard working practices. If changes are required, OSF will implement them. OSF will also make reasonable adjustments to its standard working practices to overcome substantial disadvantages caused by disability.

OSF (IF Oxford) pays the Oxford Living Wage, was a founding signatory of Oxford Cultural Anti-racism Alliance and is a Disability Confident Employer