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The Link between Job Descriptions and Unlawful Termination

Unlawful Termination

Staying on top of changes in labor and employment law can be a headache for any business owner.

Howard Kurman, Chair of the Offit Kurman’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, offers Labor and Employment Telebriefs every 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 9am Eastern Time. Mr. Kurman identifies 3-5 developments that have occurred over the past 2-3 weeks that will most significantly impact employers nationwide. These teleconferences provide executives with employee relations responsibilities an easy way to stay current and compliant with the latest Labor and Employment law developments. The focus is always on the practical, enabling corporate decisions maker who are receiving this information early, in time to act on the suggestions and be proactive.

Here is an excerpt transcribed from Mr. Kurman’s Labor & Employment Telebriefs 1-08-14.

The Link between Job Descriptions and Unlawful Termination

After an employee injured her elbow, she was no longer able to lift heavy boxes, something her employer deemed an essential job function. As a result, the employee was let go. She then filed suit, claiming  Unlawful Termination.

The employee raised the issue as to whether or not lifting boxes was actually an essential job function, according to her Job Description. The United States District Court for the District of Oregon found in favor of the employee for several reasons:

  1. Just because somebody is disabled does not mean that the job description that may have been created five or ten years ago is still in play.
  2. This is an accommodation issue. The employer never sat down with the employee to discuss ways to accommodate the employee’s new disability using certain assisted devices or techniques.

“This goes really to points that I have made in the past about updating job descriptions,” explains Kurman, “and making sure the job descriptions are accurately reflective of the essential functions of the job.”

Are your job descriptions up to date?

Unlawful TerminationIf you have any questions about updating your Job Descriptions or Unlawful Termination claims, please contact Offit Kurman attorney Howard Kurman at or 410.209.6417.

Offit Kurman Labor & Employment Law Practice Group

The attorneys in Offit Kurman’s Labor & Employment Law Practice Group help employers, like you, stay up-to-date with the seemingly constant changes in the law. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to provide sound guidance in labor and employment issues.

In today’s workplace, there’s a distinct advantage to having a legal partner like Offit Kurman. We are dedicated to helping you achieve maximum operational flexibility while minimizing your legal risk and cost.

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