Position description and appeal

Your position description is an extremely important document. Unfortunately, employees too often ignore this document. Under the provision of Article 6 – Employee Rights, employees, upon request, shall be provided a copy of their position description. This position description should accurately reflect the duties being performed by the employee.

The contract language does make it clear that the position description cannot be grieved. However, each agency needs to have an internal appeal process to deal with disagreements about how a position is described. Your union recommends that you do not rely on the employer to write the position description. Generally, this will cause more disputes later. When you have written your position description, it must be signed by your supervisor and placed in your personnel file to make it official. The employee may take the initiative to update a position description each time there are significant changes that should be addressed. These changes should be noted and entered into the position description. This would not be necessary for a short-term project. Position descriptions are important in grievances involving work performance.

Disputes regarding position descriptions are most common when employees are re-writing the document for the purpose of seeking a reallocation. A reallocation refers to changes in responsibility, discretion, and independence that may lead to a higher classification with a higher salary. These changes usually take place over a period of 15 to 24 months. During this process, an accurate position description is a must. Since reallocations are based specifically on the position description, it is extremely important that it be up-to-date.

The bottom line is, “Don’t underestimate the importance of the position description.”