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Human Resources – The Body of Knowledge Series – Job Descriptions

August 23, 2021by Barbara Flynn0

Last month I began this series about Human Resources and its Body of Knowledge.  Today I am continuing this series with Job Descriptions.  Job Descriptions are a necessary tool in Human Resources.  We use them for recruiting, compensation, worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation and most importantly liability prevention.

I’d like to share with you a recent discussion I had with a new client who recognizes the importance of job descriptions and has requested I work with him and his team to update their job descriptions.  He said that years ago, he took the time to write job descriptions for his staff but has not done anything with them in years.  Thank goodness he recognizes the importance of keeping them current and has requested I review them and bring them up to date.

You see, job descriptions are not documents that you write once, file away never to be looked at again.  They are living documents and are evolving as positions and duties my change in an ever-changing work environment.  Think about it, how many jobs have changed due to COVID-19.

I recommend job descriptions be reviewed with incumbents during their performance evaluations.  Before finalizing the newly written or updated documents, they should be reviewed by a professional (a human resource professional or attorney).  This is critical to ensure there are no compliance issues.  That they are worded properly.  That there are no issues with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Do they properly define the position to determine whether the position has FLSA exempt or nonexempt status?  If properly worded the document can help in litigation.  If improperly worded, it can be your worst nightmare!

Whether you reach out to People First or someone else, it is so important to #1 have job descriptions in your organization and #2 keep them current to avoid potential litigation.


Barbara Flynn, MS-HR, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Barbara Flynn

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