HR is currently in the process of updating all employee job description documentation as part of accreditation reporting requirements due this fall. You may have already been asked by your manager to sign your form (with or without a chance to edit for accuracy), or you may not have heard anything about it in your department yet.
Please be assured that this is a good thing for the College to undertake and will help with record-keeping and accreditation. Historically at LCC, we have not had a standardized format for job descriptions, and this helps us combine the various formats that have been used as de facto position descriptions (position announcements/JDQs) into a standardized one. The intent is to have them serve as the official position descriptions going forward, but also acknowledge that they are a living document and can be updated as needed in the future.
Per Article 11.10 of the contract (pg 21), job descriptions are to be discussed in the context of the annual evaluation process. If it can be agreed to be accurate, the employee and the supervisor both sign it. That is intended to prevent assertions about job descriptions (by either person) being “inaccurate” for years. It’s intended to be a part of the reclass process, aligning the description annually. (Thanks, Bob Baldwin for this input)
In general, there is no reason to be concerned about this process. Ideally, you will be given a chance to review and suggest edits for accuracy, but please know that if you are not given a chance to amend it, there are still steps you can take:
- If you have already signed it but think changes should have been made:
- If you have a copy, make the appropriate edits (directly on the document if you have a digital copy, or in a separate document if your copy is paper) and ask your supervisor to submit your requested changes to HR. If you have concerns about your supervisor submitting the updates, you are free to submit them directly to HR (copy your supervisor on the email so they are aware of the changes you’re submitting).
- If you do not have a copy, request one from your supervisor (or directly from HR if needed) and follow the instructions above.
- If you have not yet signed your job description and are being asked to sign it without a full discussion as to its accuracy, we recommend taking the following steps (suggested by Bob Baldwin and seconded by Bryan Lally, our AFT rep):
- Ask, in email and directly, if you are being “asked” or “directed” to sign it.
- If you are told you are being “directed”, then you are required to do so, but if you disagree with it you can sign a statement to that effect and ask HR to place it in your personnel file. See Articles 11.1.5 and 11.1.6 of the contract (pg 13) for an explanation of your rights in this regard.
- Per Article 11.9.3 of the contract (pg 21), the approved language for this statement is: “By my signature below I acknowledge that I have reviewed this document. My signature also acknowledges that I was informed of the right to have a Union representative prior to being required to affix my signature.”
- This language makes it clear that the signature of the employee is only to acknowledge that it was seen, but does not mean it was agreed to or considered to be factually accurate by the employee.
- We strongly recommend that anyone signing such a document attach this language above their signature, or file a separate document as described previously.
Additional questions and answers about the process
- Is there or would there be any effect on compensation and classification studies we are either undergoing or will undergo?
- No – this has no impact on class/comp study
- By signing this, am I signing that this is 100% accurate?
- Yes and no.
- If you discuss it with your manager, make any changes necessary, and then sign it, you are in agreement that it is accurate for this point in time (keep in mind it is is a living document that can be changed in the future if needed).
- If you are not given a chance to review it, make changes, and discuss it with your manager before signing, you can attach the statement discussed previously (or send a separate document with the same statement to HR) and your signature will only mean that you saw the document, not that you agree with its accuracy.
- Yes and no.
- What if I want to reclassify in a few months? What are the repercussions if this description I sign today is not 100% accurate?
- It would be best to correct any inaccuracies now before signing if possible; this could even be beneficial in the event of reclassification as it could be used by you as documentation of the work you are currently doing.
- Regardless of whether you are able to make changes, these documents will have no negative impact on future reclassification requests.
- Are all employees in all departments signing these job descriptions?
- Yes, that is the intention.
- Per Article 11.9 of the contract, the approved language to appear alongside a signature is: “By my signature below I acknowledge that I have reviewed this document. My signature also acknowledges that I was informed of the right to have a Union representative prior to being required to affix my signature.” Should employees be requesting that union representation before signing?
- This process doesn’t actually require union representation because a position description is non-disciplinary and doesn’t trigger Weingarten rights. If you have specific concerns about the way your manager is handling this process, you are welcome to reach out to us.
- Why were job descriptions not a part of the last accreditation? Why is it a part of accreditation now?
- It has to do with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWWCU) 2020 Standards, including section 2.F.1: “Faculty, staff, and administrators are apprised of their conditions of employment, work assignments, rights and responsibilities, and criteria and procedures for evaluation, retention, promotion, and termination.”
- Can everyone that filled out a PAQ be given a copy by their managers? Some employees have asked and their managers have not given them a copy.
- Yes, everyone is entitled to a copy of their completed PAQ; if your manager is not cooperative in providing you with one, you can contact HR directly.
- Why are some of the job descriptions brief and some multiple pages?
- The position descriptions should be in the 2-3 page range; it’s possible that some people are including too much or too little detail. However, this is not a hard requirement, and you should include whatever you feel necessary to accurately describe the work you do.