If you don’t have up-to-date job descriptions, you are asking for legal trouble the next time an employee asks for reasonable accommodations under the ADA.
Without a current job description, the employee will come up with her own—quite possibly minimizing the essential functions she can’t perform. That will make it easy for her to claim you unreasonably refused to let her do the job because she is disabled.
Recent case: United Airlines employee Lenora Humphrey-Baker broke her foot and ankle at work. The injury led to years of litigation, workers’ compensation payments, Social Security disability applications and, finally, a disability discrimination failure-to-accommodate claim.
Humphrey-Baker claimed that United had open jobs she could perform, with or without an accommodation, including that of customer service representative (CSR) at an airport boarding station.
But the airline had a clear job description that explained a CSR had to do more than collect tickets. It said CSRs must be able to stand for long periods of time, carry luggage and help disabled passengers and children board planes. Humphrey-Baker claimed all she needed was a stool at the counter.
The court said her expectation was unrealistic. Since she was unable to show that the job didn’t require everything the job description said it did, the case was dismissed. (Humphrey-Baker v. United Airlines, No. 07-1093, CD CA, 2008)
Final note: Regularly update job descriptions—especially whenever an employee is assigned additional duties. If the airline had not had a very specific job description, the court might have adopted the employee’s version. Remember, if an employee helps craft her own job description as part of her review, she won’t be able to back down from what she lists as her essential functions later.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/8329/one-more-reason-to-keep-job-descriptions-current "
- Promote harmony, prevent hostile environment by adding civility policy to your handbook
- Ban all age bias; states OK youth-bias claims
- One sex always does the dirty work? Be prepared to show that it's essential
- Don't punish employees for their off-site political activity
- Build a firewall against Internet, e-mail liabilities