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Human Resources Q&A: Job descriptions

Published on April 13, 2018 4:52PM

This column is sponsored by the Lower Columbia Human Resource Management Association. LCHRMA represents a gathering of Human Resources professionals. LCHRMA hosts a monthly luncheon and training that covers many aspects of employment law and human resources.

• April 25, 26: Greg Sammis, Vital Smarts; “Crucial Accountability”

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days at Clatsop Community College Columbia Hall Rm. 219, Astoria.

• May 2: Jennifer Bouman-Steagall, Red Kite Rising; “Professional Development”

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fort George Brewery, 1483 Duane Street Astoria.

Register online at

Questions and Answers:

Q. What is a written job description?

A. A written statement of a specific job. Every employee must have a written job description based on fundamental job duties. The job description should also include skills necessary for the performance of the job, responsibilities associated with the position, as well as the purpose, scope and working conditions of the job. A good job description should also include job title, the designated supervisor, and the work location (unless this changes frequently).

Q. How often should Human Resources review and amend a person’s job description?

A. As often as the job duties change. As soon as an employee takes on new responsibilities different from their previous tasks, Human Resources should review and amend the job description. Always review for maintaining proper classifications and required skills and responsibilities. Avoid terms such as “essential function” of a job since this could lock your company into a legal obligation. Instead clearly state the requirements of the job.

Q. When an employee’s responsibility does not change from year to year how often should I review a job description?

A. At least every two years to be assured that the job description is consistent with new administrative rules and/or state statutes. All job descriptions should contain a general disclaimer such as “This job description is not designed to include all responsibilities, duties, assignments. Other duties or responsibilities may be assigned without notice.”


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