Job descriptions are an essential part of an organization’s human resources toolkit—from laying out proper expectations to attracting potential candidates into your talent pool. Job descriptions may also protect you from negative outcomes should your organization face employment-related litigation.
In cases where job duties are dubious—particularly when the exempt or non-exempt status of a job is in question, job descriptions have made all the difference in legal outcomes—sometimes resulting in judgments costing organizations millions of dollars in overtime pay, fines and legal fees. That said, it’s important to take job descriptions seriously and ensure they are written properly.
Here are some reasons why job descriptions are essential for your company:
- They provide clear work duties and set behavioral expectations for your employees.
- They provide HR and hiring managers with a set of hiring guidelines.
- They provide guidance when making decisions about compensation and promotions.
- They serve as a tool when making decisions around disciplinary action or termination.
- They provide a framework for compliance issues.
What are some compliance issues to think about when crafting job descriptions?
FLSA or Fair Labor Standards Act: FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments.
ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act: ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
FMLA or Family Medical Leave Act: FMLA is a federal law that guarantees certain employees up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave each year with no threat of job loss.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: This act prohibits organizations from discriminating in hiring, firing or pay based on a person's race, religion, sex or national origin.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act: This act protects employees and applicants older than 40 against discrimination in any way because of their age.
USERRA or The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act: This legislation makes it illegal to discriminate against employees who volunteer or are called to military duty.
What are some job description best practices?
- When creating job descriptions, it’s best to ensure that any similar job descriptions in the company aren’t just “copy / pasted” into the new description. Are there different state requirements that will affect this job? Have duties changed or are they different depending on the location of the job?
- Provide a summary of the overall position and essential functions.
- List detailed job duties.
- Provide job requirements such as necessary education, certifications or experience.
- Provide information regarding schedules, working hours, managerial relationships, travel requirements, physical requirements, and work environment.
- Provide dates on your job descriptions and schedule regular audits to determine if your job descriptions are still accurate and still comply with state and federal employment laws.
Writing job descriptions is an important task. Taking it seriously can keep your organization out of legal hot water. EPAY’s human capital management software and professional service offerings are designed to help you ensure compliance across your organization. Schedule a quick demonstration to find out how our seamless human capital management system can help keep you compliant while easing your HR burden.
* This blog is for informational purposes only and does not present an all-encompassing list of legal requirements. Consult your HR attorney or company legal counsel for any questions regarding the legal state of your job descriptions.