Writing Job Descriptions that comply with ADA

In India, 3% of government jobs in Group C and D are set aside for disabled candidates (deaf, blind and handicapped) who posses the necessary skills. There is no clear directive about writing formal job descriptions to suit the disabled. However, in the United States, the situation is different. Congress enacted the American with Disabilities act (ADA) to reduce to eliminate serious problems of discrimination against disabled individuals. Under the ADA, the individual must have the requisite skills, educational background and experience to perform the job’s essential functions. A job function is essential hen it is the reason the position exists or when the function is so specialized that the firm hired the person going the job for his or her expertise or ability to perform that particular function. If the disabled individual can’t perform the job as currently structured the employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation unless doing so would present s undue hardship.

As we said earlier, the ADA dos not require job descriptions but it’s probably advisable to have them. Virtually all ADA legal actions will revolve around the question, what are the essential functions of the job? Without a job description that lists such functions it will be hard to convince court that the functions are essential to the job. The corollary is that you should clearly identify the essential functions. Don’t just list them among the job description’s other duties.

Essential job functions are the job duties that employees must be able to perform, with or without reasonable accommodation. Is function essential? Questions to ask include:

1) What three or four main activities actually constitute the job? Is each really necessary? (For example, secretary types, files, answer the phone takes dictation).
2) What is the relationship between each task? Is there a special sequence which the tasks must follow?
3) Do the tasks necessitate sitting, standing, crawling, walking, climbing, running, stooping, kneeling, lifting, carrying, digging , writing, operating, pushing, pulling, fingering, talking, listening, interpreting, analyzing seeing coordinating etc?
4) How many other employees are available to perform the job function? Can the performance of that job function be distributed among any other employees?
5) How much time is spent on the job performing each particular function? Are the tasks performed less frequently as important to success as those on more frequently?
6) Would removing a function fundamentally alter the job?
7) What happens if a task is not completed on time?
8) Does the position exist to perform that function?
9) Are employees in the position actually required to perform the function?
10) Is there a limited number of other employees available to perform the function?
11) What is the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function?
12) What is the actual work experience of present or past employees in the job?
13) What is amount of time an individual actually spends performing the function?
14) What are the consequences of not requiring the performance of the function?

Using the Internet for Writing Job Descriptions:

Most employers probably still write their own job descriptions, but more are turning to the internet. One site, www.jobdescription.com illustrates why. The process is simple. Search by alphabetical title, keyword category or industry to find the desired job title. This leads you to a generic job description for that title say Computers & EDP systems sales representative. You can then use the wizard to customize the generic description for this position. For example you can specific information about your organization such as job title, job codes, department, and preparation date. And you can indicate whether the job has supervisory abilities, and choose from a number of possible desirable competencies and experiences levels.