According to the ADA, an employer may not ask disability-related questions and may not conduct medical examinations until after it makes a conditional job offer to the applicant (EEOC, 1995). An individual, as an applicant or a current employee, may wish to disclose that s/he has a disability and needs an accommodation, but is uncertain whether disclosure is possible or advisable. Including a brief and accurate statement in the job description about the employer’s responsibility and the individuals rights may help initiate the interactive process between an employer and an individual with a disability. If an individual is qualified to perform essential job functions except for limitations caused by a disability, the employer must consider whether the individual could perform these functions with a reasonable accommodation. An employer is not required to reallocate the essential functions of a job as a reasonable accommodation.
Internal consistency is very important when developing an overall bank of organizational job descriptions. The employer may want to select specific formats, fonts, logos, and other elements to streamline and standardize the appearance of the documents. Consistent language such as preferred action words and frequently used terms can help create cohesiveness throughout. Internal consistency may also help “ensure equitable comparisons of content across jobs” in justifying employee salary decisions (Milkovich and Newman, 1990).
To make it easier to create and manage job descriptions that are complete, clear and consistent, it is best to start with a job description template. The number of templates you need will depend on the variety of jobs in your organization, but as with all things - less is more. But while many HR professionals and managers agree that job description templates are a foundational talent management tool, many struggle with knowing exactly what to include in their templates.
Sometimes it can be overwhelming when trying to get a sense of the overall accommodation picture. A job description can be a constructive tool for exploring task-specific accommodation options. Often, it is beneficial to consider the specific tasks that comprise the job. This can help pinpoint what limitations are affecting an individuals job performance and what functions can be accommodated. Understanding an individual’s functional limitations provides helpful clues when searching for accommodation solutions.