The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which makes it unlawful for eligible employers to discriminate against qualified candidates because they have, previously had, or are perceived to have a disability. The ADA defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity” such as seeing, breathing, hearing, and walking. Although the ADA does not require employers to write job descriptions, having an ADA-compliant job description can help you defend against potential discrimination claims and make your hiring process more equitable. (You may want to have an employment lawyer review your job description to make sure you comply with all federal, state, and local laws.)
Here are five tips for writing your job descriptions:
- Share the essential job functions
- Note the mandatory qualifications
- Mention relevant working conditions and physical demands
- Include an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement
- Add an Accessibility Statement
1. Share the “Essential Job Functions”
To be protected under the law, candidates must be able to complete the “essential job functions” with or without “reasonable accommodations” and meet all the mandatory qualifications. EEOC officials review job descriptions as part of their discrimination investigation, so it’s important to have all the “essential job functions” included in the job responsibilities section. To determine whether a job responsibility is “essential,” the EEOC recommends considering “whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function, the number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom the performance of the function can be distributed, and the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function.”
Your ADA-compliant job description will help candidates determine whether they can complete the “essential job functions.” It also provides a fair way for interviewers to evaluate candidates. Interviewers are prohibited from asking whether someone has a disability, but they can ask all candidates whether they can complete the “essential job functions” with or without “reasonable accommodations.”
2. Note the Mandatory Qualifications
Include all the mandatory qualifications in your job description, such as necessary academic degrees, certifications, licenses, and skills. Under the law, it’s unlawful to discriminate against qualified candidates because they have a disability. It’s important to include the mandatory qualifications in your job description because you can use it to show that your hiring decision was not discriminatory.
3. Mention Relevant Working Conditions and Physical Demands
Some job descriptions have a section dedicated to the working conditions and physical demands. For example, the working conditions could be working outdoors at a construction site or working around chemicals. To write an ADA-compliant job description, it’s beneficial to be specific about the mandatory physical demands and working conditions.
Instead of saying someone needs to be able to walk around the store, it’s better to say they must be able to move around the store because that is more inclusive of people who use a wheelchair. Similarly, instead of saying someone needs to be able to lift something, it would be better to say that they would need to be able to lift patients out of beds and wheelchairs or lift 20-30-pound boxes.
4. Include an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Statement
While the EEOC only requires federal contractors to include an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement, many companies have followed suit and it can help you create an ADA-compliant job description. You may want to mention that you are an Equal Opportunity Employer, are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive company culture, and that your team does not discriminate against candidates and employees because of their disability, sex, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, veteran status, or any other protected status under the law.
5. Add an Accessibility Accommodation Statement
It’s best practice to include an Accessibility Accommodation statement on your company’s career page and all job descriptions. According to the ADA, a “reasonable accommodation” is a modification to the hiring process that makes it accessible for people with disabilities. For example, you could have the interview in a wheelchair-accessible room or provide assistive technology. Consider mentioning your commitment to creating an inclusive workplace and how candidates can request accommodations.
Post Your ADA-Compliant Job Description
Now that you know how to make your job description compliant, you’re ready to start the hiring process. Get started with a free job posting on Monster.
Legal Disclaimer: None of the information provided herein constitutes legal advice on behalf of Monster.