Share this content

How legally binding are Job Descriptions?

How legally binding are Job Descriptions

Didn't find your answer?

I was led to belive - some years ago - that a Job Description has no real legal weight, and that the duties implied by the 'Job Title' is the only legal 'contract' that an employer has with an employee.

Lots of JDs have 'And any other resonable duty required by the manager/organisation, etc...' inserted into a JD, but surely this vague statement has no real validity if challenged by an employee?

I was also told that a JD can't be used in a tribunal as evidence. True?

Naive questions, I know; but I would be very grateful if someone could give me a clear 'steer' on this issue.

Many thanks

Michael
Michael Heath

Replies (5)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By kambains
25th Apr 2006 22:50

Hi Micheael

JD's do carry some legal weight in that their content is indicative of the duties and objectives required of an employee. In the absence of a JD, the range of duties would have to be implied from the job title and other surrounding factors. Every employment contract (even an unwritten one) is deemed to contain an implied term that the employee will be reasonably adaptable, which of itself is normally sufficient to cover minor changes in duties or manner of working. Where the JD or the contract has a non-specific 'other reasonable duties' clause you mentioned, the employee would be obliged to undertake other duties as long as they fell within the general scope of whatever function he/she was employed to undertake, and, it must be remembered that the employer is under an implied obligation to not act in a manner which destroys trust and confidence; requiring an employee to undertake duties completely at odds with their normal duties would be a breach of this duty. Finally, there is no reason why JD's can't be used as evidence at a Tribunal.

Thanks (0)
Replying to kambains:
avatar
By CFerriera
11th Dec 2021 14:06

I wonder, what if an employer puts on the job description 'no sector experience required' and then when the applicant starts the job they have to learn all about the sector in specific areas within a few weeks of starting and are giving lots of documentation to read before they can work on the work they are required to fulfil? Then they are made to do a performance appraisal within 2 month of starting the position with specific sector knowledge aligning to the work they must fulfil?

kambains wrote:

Hi Micheael

JD's do carry some legal weight in that their content is indicative of the duties and objectives required of an employee. In the absence of a JD, the range of duties would have to be implied from the job title and other surrounding factors. Every employment contract (even an unwritten one) is deemed to contain an implied term that the employee will be reasonably adaptable, which of itself is normally sufficient to cover minor changes in duties or manner of working. Where the JD or the contract has a non-specific 'other reasonable duties' clause you mentioned, the employee would be obliged to undertake other duties as long as they fell within the general scope of whatever function he/she was employed to undertake, and, it must be remembered that the employer is under an implied obligation to not act in a manner which destroys trust and confidence; requiring an employee to undertake duties completely at odds with their normal duties would be a breach of this duty. Finally, there is no reason why JD's can't be used as evidence at a Tribunal.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By User deleted
30th Apr 2006 15:08

...this is a really comprehensive - and very helpful - answer. Thank you for taking the time to clear this up for me.

Michael

Thanks (0)
avatar
By brianworth2
04th May 2006 12:36

To ask another question - What's in a name or a job Title.
So many job titles are misnomers and cannot be relied upon in a tribunal.
Hence the need for J.D's so as to identify precisely what the job entails.
As an example, I had a Franchise Director requiring a 'Franchise Services Administration Executive' One would imagine a high 5 figure salary for such a job title.
The truth of the matter was that they wanted a part time administration clerk - as identified from the J.D.
So often a glorified job title is a substitute for a salary increase.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By CFerriera
11th Dec 2021 14:06

I wonder, what if an employer puts on the job description 'no sector experience required' and then when the applicant starts the job they have to learn all about the sector in specific areas within a few weeks of starting and are giving lots of documentation to read before they can work on the work they are required to fulfil? Then they are made to do a performance appraisal within 2 month of starting the position with specific sector knowledge aligning to the work they must fulfil?

admin wrote:

I was led to belive - some years ago - that a Job Description has no real legal weight, and that the duties implied by the 'Job Title' is the only legal 'contract' that an employer has with an employee.

Lots of JDs have 'And any other resonable duty required by the manager/organisation, etc...' inserted into a JD, but surely this vague statement has no real validity if challenged by an employee?

I was also told that a JD can't be used in a tribunal as evidence. True?

Naive questions, I know; but I would be very grateful if someone could give me a clear 'steer' on this issue.

Many thanks

Michael
Michael Heath

Thanks (0)
Share this content