Essential Job Task

Last Updated: July 30, 2019

Definition - What does Essential Job Task mean?

An essential job task is a basic function required to execute all relevant duties and tasks associated with a job position. For instance, a secretary must demonstrate typing skills as an essential job task to access, retrieve, and/or store electronic data in a computer. Job descriptions incorporate essential job tasks that serve as criterion for measuring eligibility of an employee during the hiring process. Factors that correspond to essential job tasks can include academic credentials, previous experience, auxiliary functions related to the job, and duration of time to finish primary responsibilities.

WorkplaceTesting explains Essential Job Task

For employers, listing essential job tasks is a vital component outlined in job descriptions because it directly reflects the expectations to perform any job function desired by a company. However, employers can face potential legal challenges where accuracy and validity are concerned due to marginal overlapping job functions. The ability to perform essential job tasks is contingent on whether an applicant and/or current employee can meet production standards to generate results.

However, individuals with disabilities can encounter discrimination based on perceived barriers associated with mental and/or physical limitations. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal mandate that protects people with specific conditions against bias work assessment measures. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces ADA regulations focused on job descriptions illustrating essential job tasks and/or nonessential tasks as a provision of employment.

Traditionally, candidates and/or employees with disabilities who demonstrate a capacity to perform essential job tasks based on evidence stated in a job description can be hired with or without reasonable accommodations. Disabled individuals may have grounds for legal action based on discrepancies in job descriptions where essential job tasks are omitted.

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