Top ten mistakes employers make when drafting job descriptions

 

  1. Not drafting job descriptions because the employer believes that they are either useless or are not needed in small to medium sized companies. 
  2. Not listing the essential functions of the job (i.e., the primary purpose the job exists).
  3. Listing functions that are not the essential functions of the job as essential functions. Employers should separate these “other” functions as just that. Employers should also have language that specifies that the job may change, and employees may be required to perform other duties as required.
  4. Using legalese. Employers should use concrete terms that everyone can understand.
  5. Making the description too long.
  6. Using terms and/or abbreviations that only others in the company understand what they mean.
  7. Not updating job descriptions and simply use the ones drafted in 1990. Times are changing very fast, and an employer’s expectations of its employees in 1990 are probably vastly different than compared to 2009.
  8. Containing typos and poor grammar. A job description may be the critical document in employment litigation, a judge and/or jury may have to interpret the meaning of the job description, and therefore it is important to take time and care in drafting the language of the job description.
  9. Not referring to the job descriptions when conducting employee performance reviews or when addressing its liability against a potential ADA lawsuit.
  10. Not having outside legal counsel review the job descriptions (come on, you knew I had to put this one in).
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Comments (1) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Kerry McCoy - August 14, 2009 10:31 AM

Great list! I would add that the employee should be involved in the writing and updating of his/her job description--"buy in" is much smoother that way and can prevent someone saying "I didn't know that."

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