Dangers of Outdated Job Descriptions


When were your company's job descriptions last updated? Are your job descriptions objective and describe the physical and functional tasks performed? If you answered “no,” read on.

Udated job descriptions protect companies from numerous liabilities. Here are some reasons as to why they are so important. 

#1: OSHA Audits. Random and unexpected, OSHA audits can happen at any time. Are you ready? Your job descriptions must be current, or you will be deemed non-compliant and subject to fines.

#2: Litigation Liability. If you are called to court to defend your company in a case where an employee is injured and stating that they were working outside of their required job description, you are able to objectively defend this.

#3: Invalidated Pre-Work Screenings and Post-Injury Tests. Pre-work screening may not be accurate if you do not have functional job descriptions laid out for each position. A new hire will have no questions of what is physically expected of them with accurate job descriptions. In a post-injury situation, doctors and therapists will also use the job description to test the employee and determine if they are ready to return to work or if there should be restrictions.

#4: Minimize Workers’ Compensation Risks. The physical requirements clearly stated in a job description drive the skills and physical capabilities you seek when hiring new employees. They can minimize poor hiring decisions or deter people who may not match the criteria, which decreases the chances of hiring someone who may injure themselves attempting the job.

#5: EEOC and ADA Compliance. An updated job description protects your company from the exposure of noncompliance in the event that an employee with a disability files a discrimination grievance. For example, if an employee is colorblind and the ability to identify colors is a key part of their job in sorting widgets on an assembly line, that physical ability must be clearly outlined in their job description. If that employee is fired for making too many errors, they can file a grievance with the EEOC if your job description didn’t explicitly state that physical requirement.

If after reading this, you determine it is time to update your job descriptions to be more objective and match the job more closely, please reach out to us to discuss how we can help!