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Legal Requirements of Job Descriptions

Job Descriptions

Strong, accurate job descriptions stand up to employee lawsuits, especially ADA reasonable accommodation and FLSA misclassification claims.


In this 75-minute workshop, you’ll discover:

  • How to avoid FLSA, ADA and FMLA claims. Discover how to correctly describe those all-important essential functions, expectations, duties, responsibilities and more.
  • A step-by-step plan to write and revise. Replace “bad” wording with “good” language to eliminate red flags that may signal legal troubles.
  • How and when to revise your job descriptions. Accurate job descriptions require an honest discussion with the employee about tasks and responsibilities, and a realignment of the description to match reality, or reassignment of problematic duties.

If a job description hasn’t been updated recently, it’s a legal time bomb.

You may think of job descriptions as a recruiting tool, but they are also legal documents. Outdated, inaccurate or nonexistent job descriptions will spark trouble. Without one, good luck persuading the DOL that you’ve properly classified managers and supervisors as exempt from overtime, something absolutely essential now that overtime rules are changing. The same goes for proving what qualifies as essential functions. If you don’t list it, it’s not essential.

The pandemic permanently changed the landscape of the American workplace. Telework, hybrid schedules and Zoom meetings are here to stay. Your employees have assumed new tech skills, duties and responsibilities that must be reflected in their job descriptions. Consider this: At what point does your teleworker lose her exempt status when she’s doing all her own administrative work — tasks once relegated to support staff? How much overtime will you owe if you got it wrong?

But what language should you delete from those old job descriptions — and what exactly replaces it? We will walk you through sample job descriptions with some problematic language like “other duties as assigned” and suggest changes. We’ll provide a sample acknowledgment proving that your workers reviewed their job descriptions and agreed that they’re accurate. Taking time now to create or update job descriptions will pay huge dividends later. On Wednesday, March 13, we’ll show you how to get started, what to change and why you need to add reminders to your calendar once a year, at a minimum, that it’s once again time to update job descriptions.

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Webinar Agenda

  • The 5 benefits of a good job description.
  • The 4 federal laws that require accurate, up-to-date job descriptions, including the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
  • Which words create liability, and which words help you.
  • 4 simple steps to create accurate and defensible job descriptions that match industry standards and local variations.
  • How to define “essential functions” for ADA and FMLA purposes.
  • Exempt or not? The right language to lock in an employee’s exempt FLSA classification. Hint: You don’t need to state which exemption you’re claiming, but you do need to know as you list duties for the job.
  • Descriptive but functional language. Why job descriptions should use language that’s function-based and avoids coded words like “aggressive” and “fearless,” which can be seen as racist or sexist.
  • Should they include disclaimers? Yes, and we’ll provide a sample you can include.
  • Why the annual review should always include a reassessment of the job description. This is your chance to fix errors, evaluate changes and rest easy knowing your employee can’t trap you with surprise overtime, misclassification or other wage-and-hour complaints.
  • Why you need employee input, review and buy-in. Nothing protects like an employee’s acknowledgement that their job description is accurate and complete.
  • Resources for better descriptions. There are resources that help you create new positions or check that current positions are properly described.

Get answers to YOUR questions from presenter…

Anniken Davenport

Anniken Davenport, a noted employment law attorney and the editor of HR Specialist: Employment Law. She has authored several books, including Bullet-Proof Your Employee Handbook and Overtime & Other Tricky Pay Issues. She is also co-author of the upcoming Labor & Employment Law for the 21st Century, by Prentice Hall. Anniken has served as a professor at Penn State University, where she taught business law and HR management, and she directed the Legal Studies Program at Wilson College. Her legal career includes representing government units in discrimination and other employment law cases and representing school districts in labor negotiations.

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Registration bonuses included:

Writing Legal & Effective Job Descriptions

Everyone who signs up will receive a copy of Writing Legal & Effective Job Descriptions. This white paper identifies the benefits of drafting job descriptions, the most common legal traps, and the key ingredients to include in a comprehensive, legally safe job description. Plus, it includes a 13-question self-audit tool to measure the legality and effectiveness of any job description.

The HR Weekly

You'll also receive one month of exclusive access to The HR Weekly – our comprehensive service with all the HR advice and compliance tools to simplify your job … and to keep your organization out of court. So that you continue to benefit from The HR Weekly, we will continue your subscription after that for the then current rate, unless you tell us "no, thanks" – your choice.

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Access around 100 live, expert-led training sessions… for just $1,599


We promise you'll be satisfied.

If Legal Requirements of Job Descriptions fails to meet your needs in any way, we will refund 100% of your tuition – every penny you paid – but your course materials and registration bonuses will be yours to keep. No hassles, no questions asked.


Professional Recertification Credit Hours Included

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Business Management Daily is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDC) for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.

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HR Certification Institute’s® (www.HRCI.org) official seal confirms that Business Management Daily meets the criteria for pre-approved recertification credit(s) for any of HRCI’s eight credentials, including SPHR® and PHR®. This program has been pre-approved for 1.25 HR-General recertification credit hours.