Job Descriptions – Why they are important

Why as an Employer I Should Re-evaluate my Job Descriptions, Right Now.

While there is no state or federal law requiring a job description, they serve as a tool to protect employers. Without a job description, employers can leave themselves open for legal repercussions in the event of having to terminate someone unable to perform necessary job duties. By establishing minimum qualifications, including even the most basic items such as good attendance and working well with others, an employer is setting clear expectations for the position. Then, if a person seeks a position and does not possess the required certification or qualifications, the employer has a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for not placing the person in the job.

What Worked Yesterday May Not Work Today

 Laws continue to change, so it is necessary to annually scrutinize job descriptions. A current example would be the legalization of marijuana, and how that ties into workplace safety. Jobs requiring equipment use that can be impaired through use of marijuana can raise questions as legalization continues.  Employers must look into all of the options they have as rapid legalization continues in multiple states.

Identify the Best Employees for a Job

Aside from a legal concern of having a job description, there are other reasons for having them. For example, a job description can communicate to an employee exactly what tasks they can expect to perform. A job description can also address quality or quantity of work anticipated from their performance. Without clear communication, employees may not perform to the employer’s expectations. There are a number of job description templates available online that employers can use to create their own job descriptions. However, customers of My HR Professionals can take advantage of our HR support services and have us create them for you.

A number of companies have an interview process that consists of multiple steps. Job descriptions can help identify on the front end what particular skills or abilities that are necessary for the position or outline the type of work environment that apply to the position. A good job description tells the applicant what the position may involve or require. After reading the job description, some applicants may decide that they are not a good fit for the position or are not interested in it. If an applicant withdraws his or her application, a prospective employer cannot be held liable for any “adverse action” under any applicable laws.

Open Dialogue

Some state or federal laws require reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. Job descriptions can help with the interactive process that such laws require. A job description serves as a starting point for what the employer believes to be the essential job duties. The applicant or employee then must identify which of the listed duties he or she cannot perform.

Once those duties are identified, the employer and individual with a disability can begin an interactive dialogue about accommodations. These accommodations may help in performing duties without adding hardship to the employer or creating a direct threat to the individual or others. A job description also helps in soliciting the advice of professionals about whether an individual can perform a particular job. Professionals such as physicians, chiropractors, counselors or rehabilitation therapists.

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