DETERMINING ESSENTIAL AND NON-ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, supervisors must determine and identify which functions are essential functions of the particular position (Must be performed by position). According to the ADA guidelines, a function may be determined to be essential to the work of the unit but not necessarily essential to a particular position, e.g., a function must be done, but another staff member could perform it. For each function listed, consider the following:
-Are employees currently in the same classification actually required to perform the function?
-If a function is removed, would that fundamentally change the job?
-Does the position exist primarily to perform this function?
-Are there a limited number of other employees available to perform the function, or among whom the function can be distributed?
-Is the function highly specialized, and the person in the position is hired for that expertise?
The ADA regulations list several types of evidence to determine whether a function is essential:
-The employer's judgement that a function is essential;
-A written job description prepared before advertising or interviewing applicants for a job;
-The amount of time spent performing the function;
-The consequences of not requiring a person in the job to perform the function;
-The terms of a collective bargaining agreement which define duties to be performed in particular jobs;
-The work experience of people who have performed the job in the past and work experience of people who currently perform the job; and,
-Other relevant factors such as the nature of the work operation and the employer's organizational structure.
Those functions which do not meet the above considerations are considered non-essential or marginal functions of this position.
REQUIRED ELEMENTS ("PAGE 8")
"Page 8" of the Position Questionnaire contains information in the preparation of any position description. This includes descriptions for casual positions, vacant new positions, and positions being reviewed for reclassification. This page covers items 12–16, including requirements of the position, identification of critical positions, and type of supervision received.
Guidelines for Writing a Job Description