The Importance of Job Descriptions

I recently read an article in the PEO Insider magazine written by Paula Watkins, SPHR, that talked about how many employers do not have job descriptions that properly protect them when reviewed against the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).  In general, Ms. Watkins points out that when President George W. Bush signed the ADAAA into law in 2008, the definition of “disability” became much easier for individuals to meet and be eligible for reasonable accommodations.  She also noted that the ADAAA’s focus became that of shifting from analyzing a particular individual’s impairment to determining whether an employer complied with its obligations to provide equal opportunity.

This got me to thinking about job descriptions in general.  When was the last time you reviewed your job descriptions?  Do you have one for each position in your company?  Are they up to date?  Many employers believe that job descriptions are for use in hiring and not much else.  However, this is not the case.  Job descriptions are used to properly define the overall job duties for positions that employers hire for.  They also provide guidance for employees on their responsibilities and they are used during performance reviews to ensure key duties are being accomplished.  But they are also used for much more.  Did you know they are often used for determinations of unemployment and workers’ compensation claims?  They are evaluated for discrimination charges and they are reviewed for disability  under the ADA and the ADAAA as noted above. 

Job descriptions should be drafted with thought and detail the overall responsibilities and requirements for each position.  Not only should key duties be highlighted, but required abilities such as physical and mental needs to do the job should be noted.  Knowledge and educational and/or skills required to complete the tasks should also be included in any job description.  This is only a partial list so we recommend doing your research to ensure your job descriptions are legal and compliant.  Better yet, partner with StaffScapes.  We make sure your job descriptions as well as many other related human resources, benefits, risk management and payroll tasks are handled appropriately. Contact us today to learn more about our services.  We can be reached at 303-466-7864 or