Overview: A job description (commonly called a JD) is a written document that describes the purpose, duties, responsibilities, tasks, and relationships of a particular job. Without a JD, it is impossible to hold a person accountable for performing the duties of their position. The primary purpose ofa job description is to identify the essential functions of the position. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), essential functions are those tasks or functions of a particular position that are fundamental to the position (as opposed to marginal). Knowing the essential functions of the job will aid you in • • • • • • • • • • • Assuring compliance with legal requirementsrelated to equal opportunity, equal pay, overtime eligibility, etc. Establishing a basis for recruitment, selection, and hiring Writing appropriate interview questions Determining whether a person is qualified to perform the essential functions Identifying reasonable accommodations to enable a disabled person to perform the essential functions Evaluating work distribution and departmentalorganization Analyzing jobs to determine appropriate pay ranges and classifications Training employees Assisting incumbents in understanding their job better Allowing clear and accurate performance reviews Counseling employees on career opportunities and their vocational interests
While every position changes somewhat over time based on the abilities of the incumbent, the description should be writtenin terms of the position itself, not the capabilities of any individual. It is a document that establishes the baseline which will be utilized for the many reasons listed above, for training new employees, and for various legal purposes. All job descriptions are summaries. The baseline objective is to provide enough information in the right format and language to be accurate, clear and useful tothe employer. Job descriptions: • • Should contain enough accurate information to be useful, and should not be so broad that they confuse or mislead managers, employees and/or job applicants.
July, 2003 Job Description Manual - AU.doc
Position Summary Section The Position Summary section describes in very brief terms, the duties and responsibilities of a position. It explains the generalreporting structure, what is done, how it is done and why it is done. It should be no more than two or three sentences long. Job Content Section There are two sections that make up the overall Job Content Section: Principal Duties and Responsibilities and Other Duties and Responsibilities. The Principal Duties and Responsibilities section covers the Essential Functions of the position. This sectionwill list some items which will be standard to all University positions as well as the 6 to 12 most vital essential functions of the position. The Other Duties and Responsibilities section covers other important pieces of the overall position; however it does not include essential functions. It will include one item common to all University positions, as well as any additional duties (up to 6 or8) that are important to the position but which do not reach the level of an essential function. What are Essential Functions? In identifying essential functions, be sure to consider (1) whether employees in the position actually are required to perform the function, and (2) whether removing that function would fundamentally change the job. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, from whichthe issue of essential functions has come into focus, lists several reasons why a function could be considered essential: • the position exists to perform the function (e.g., if you hire someone to proofread documents, the ability to proofread accurately is an essential function, since this is the reason that the position exists); there are a limited number of other employees available to perform...