Job Analysis: Law/Legal Issues: Federal Guidelines

Impact of the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures

The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures states that a thorough job analysis is needed for supporting a selection procedure (see: 60-3.9 - No assumption of validity. Section B.)

Validity studies should be based on review of information about the job. Any validity study should be based upon a review of information about the job for which the selection procedure is to be used. The review should include a job analysis...(see: 60-3.14 - Technical standards for validity studies. Section A.)

A job analysis should describe all important work behaviors, their relative importance, and their difficulty level. "[A] job analysis [should include] an analysis of the important work behavior(s) required for successful performance and their relative importance and, if the behavior results in work product(s), an analysis of the work product(s). Any job analysis should focus on the work behavior(s) and the tasks associated with them. If work behavior(s) are not observable, the job analysis should identify and analyze those aspects of the behavior(s) that can be observed and the observed work products. The work behavior(s) selected for measurement should be critical work behavior(s) and/or important work behavior(s) constituting most of the job." (see: 60-3.14 - Technical standards for validity studies. Section C.(2))

Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act

With the passage of the American's With Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), job analysis has taken on an increasing importance. A job analysis can be used to define the essential elements of the job, including the physical demands that the work requires.

The ADA specifically states:
No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

The Act defines "qualified individual with a disability" as someone with a disability who:

"with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires." (see ADA Section 101. Definitions (8)).

What is an "essential function"?

The Act states: "...consideration shall be given to the employer's judgment as to what functions of a job are essential, and if an employer has prepared a written description before advertising or interviewing applicants for the job, this description shall be considered evidence of the essential functions of the job (see ADA Section 101. Definitions (8)).

Determination of "reasonable accommodations".

The ADA requires that handicapped individuals be given "reasonable accommodation" in the workplace so that they will not be unreasonably excluded from employment. Job Analysis is a process to identify the tasks and duties performed on the job as well as equipment used. This information may be helpful in determining what "reasonable accommodations" could be made for an individual to perform the job.

Can the job analysis be used in defense of actions by the employer sued under ADA?

Job Analysis will play a crucial role in identifying the essential functions of a job and also assisting in identifying what reasonable accommodations may be made.