Job descriptions affect multiple aspects of employment. An effective job description should accurately reflect the essential duties and responsibilities of an employee’s position. For many employees, job duties have fluctuated as a result of the pandemic. Employees have cross-trained and absorbed additional duties when co-workers were out of the office due to quarantine or other COVID related reasons. It is important and necessary for employers to review job descriptions and update criteria where necessary.
Accurate job descriptions are instrumental for recruitment, Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) administration, American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) interactive process facilitation, annual performance evaluations, and Department of Labor Audits.
Recruitment. Accurate job descriptions help employers attract qualified candidates by listing the required qualifications and necessary skills to perform the job. The failure to use a job description to identify the required criteria for the position could result in unqualified candidates and prolong the hiring process. Additionally, using a job description to guide an interview can help identify limitations to job performance and possible accommodations.
FMLA. During FMLA administration, an employer may require an employee to submit a certification from a health care provider to support the employee’s need for FMLA leave and/or to return to work. If the employer fails to provide a statement of the employee’s essential functions or a job description, the certification will be based upon the employee’s own description of the essential job functions.
ADA. Job descriptions can be used as part of the process for determining reasonable accommodations for employees during the interactive process. Job descriptions should include physical demands and a description of the work environment.
Performance Evaluations. Job descriptions expressly set out the expectations the employer has of an employee. A well written job description will assist an employer conducting a performance evaluation by allowing the employer to compare the employee’s performance with formalized expectations.
Audits. Job descriptions should include employment classification (exempt or non-exempt), as well as job duties to support that classification. In the event of a Department of Labor overtime audit, well maintained job descriptions will provide supporting evidence for an employer’s pay structure.
HR Partners recommends developing job descriptions for all positions. Job descriptions should be reviewed and revised annually to ensure the essential functions remain accurate. For more information regarding job descriptions, or for help developing and/or revising job descriptions, or for any other HR-related issues, please contact HR Partners at 785-233-7860.