Are job descriptions necessary?

No, but they are recommended.  Here are some good reasons for creating and maintaining accurate job descriptions:

  1. They identify the essential functions of the job.  Employers aren’t required to hire (or retain) employees who cannot perform the job’s essential functions. 
  2. They identify the job’s minimum qualifications and help show why they are necessary.
  3. They provide an objective basis for hiring or promoting decisions and, more importantly, not hiring or promoting.
  4. They provide support for the position’s classification as exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Here is an article that provides other reasons an employer may consider maintaining job descriptions.

If you are committed to maintaining accurate job descriptions, they can be an incredibly useful tool.  The opposite, however, is true for job descriptions that are out-of-date or do not accurately reflect what a job entails.  Like most things, good documentation is excellent, no documentation is bad, but bad documentation is the worst. 

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The information herein is not legal advice. The information is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter discussed.  The above is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.