EMPLOYMENT APPLICATION - HEALTH
Posted: 03 October 2008 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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We are looking to hire a receptionist/vendor billing/supplies person.  We get boxes of paper delivered which weigh in the neighborhood of 35 to 50 pounds.  I need to inquire as to whether they have the ability to lift these.  Any suggestons?

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Posted: 03 October 2008 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This should help:  The Americans with Disabilities Act: A Primer for Small Business.  Check out the hiring do’s and don’ts.  Keep in mind that there might be similar State law restrictions (the handbook only deals with the federal ADA).

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Patrick Della Valle
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Posted: 07 October 2008 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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If they need to lift boxes, you might say: “We get boxes of paper delivered [hourly/daily/weekly/every other year] which weigh in the neighborhood of 35 to 50 pounds.  I need to inquire as to whether you have the ability to lift these?”

However, do they need to lift boxes? I imagine the boxes need to be moved, and perhaps raised, but do they have to be lifted? Isn’t the “essential function” of the job getting the contents of the box somewhere (and the box somewhere), but HOW that is done isn’t necessarily by lifting. Moreover, you may have to provide a “reasonable accommodation” to help a person with the disability do the job.

So, you might better say: “We get boxes of paper delivered which weigh in the neighborhood of 35 to 50 pounds.  I need to get the paper moved to the supply cabinet. Can you do that, with any reasonable accommodation?” (or, if they have an obvious disability: “Can you demonstrate how you would do that?”)

Thus: determine the essential functions (what you want done, and not how you’ve done it) and ask everyone if they can do those essential functions “with any reasonable accommodation.”

good luck.

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Posted: 08 October 2008 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Two things come to mind.  First, you should have an essential job functions, job analysis/description on file to present to the applicant at time of interview.  You can then ask if they are able to perform the job described with or without accommodation.  This job description becomes a legal document and the consistency of presenting such a document at time of interview provides a degree of protection for the future.

Second, buy yourself a simple 4-wheeled cart and have the boxes of paper delivered to it, then not only do you avoid the need to carry, but the need to bend and stoop as well.

Dave

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Posted: 08 October 2008 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I agree with Kent that if this is an essential function of the job, you should post the job as such and make an inquiry about the candidate’s ability to meet the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.  I wouldn’t isolate this job responsibility but list all of the essential functions and then make sure to document that you are asking questions fairly of all candidates (not just females!)

For example, my delivery driver positions include the screening question (pre-interview):  “This position requires you to lift/carry at least 50 lbs with or without reasonable accommodation.  Can you meet that requirement?”

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Posted: 08 October 2008 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I agree with Kent also.  We have a job description for every job here and part of the job requirements is to be able to lift 25 to 50 pounds.  We also have a signature line where the employee signs it so the new hire is aware of the requirements and also in case of injury.

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Posted: 08 October 2008 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I put this in my job description. Must be able to push heavy carts and lift 50 lbs. When I am interviewing I give the candidate a copy of the job description. I ask him/her to take a few minutes and read the job description.

We than go over it. I read the portion and explain in a little detail what it is talking about on the everyday job and than I ask what skills they have that would qualify them to do the job and how they would go about doing it.

When we get to the bottom where the skills are and the paragraph says “must be able to push heavy carts and lift 50 lbs. I ask the candidate if they would be able to complete this task and if not what type of accomodation would be needed to enable you to complete the task?

Usually when it is in the job description I send out to the job bank or to the job service I do not have candidates applying for the job that cannot do it. It screens out a lot by just putting it in the job description.

If it is a requirement of the job than even someone under ADA can be expected to be able to accomplish the job with a reasonable accomodation.  Such as we hired someone in a wheelchair once and he did a great job, had awesome upper arm strength. We simply had to lower the shelves where the product was stored so he could reach them. He had no problem throwing the boxes on the belts.

Shirley

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Posted: 08 October 2008 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thank you for the great input.  I drafted a full job description which included putting supplies away/unloading boxes of paper and stacking on shelving units.  I then had the applicant sign off that they understood the scope of the position and could perform each of the functions.  I will let you all know if this works out - - or not.  I think this at least places them on notice of expectations.  Staples delivers our paper to the storage room - - it is more a function of unloading and stacking.

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Posted: 08 October 2008 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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You must become comfortable with your knowledge of the ADA and the new amendments.  In most job descriptions (when trying to attract viable candidates) lifting is put in the job qualifications; therefore when you interview a candidate you remind them of the different qualifications and affirm their awareness.

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Posted: 08 October 2008 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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1.  I would make sure the job description reflects the lifting requirement
2.  I would second-think making ANYONE lift 35 or 40 pounds (because human nature is to “dead-lift” and that’s a sure lumbar back sprain/strain).  You are setting yourself up for a workers comp back injury that will cost you a lot of money in the futre.  Find some type of lifting device.  It will be cheaper in the long run.

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Posted: 09 October 2008 01:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hi,

During the interview, follow this logic and modify the statement to reflect the actual work -  then ask the question:

OK, applicant,  we will need the person we hire to have the ability to regularly lift boxes, move files, lift.. (etc..) from the floor or from a desk up to the top of a shelf or x,y,z.  ( just explain what you need).  The new boxes could be heavy- up to xx pounds and may or may not be broken down into smaller sizes to reduce the weight or lifting obligation.

Since this is an essential function of the position, can you tell me if this is something you could do with or without an accommodation of some sort ?    If no,  then no, they cant do it.    If they answer yes,  they will clarify one or the other:

1- yes,  I can do it without an accommodation,  or
2- yes, I can do it, I think,  I’ll try my best…..

If #2 above,  you may decide to have management / HR institute an immediate Pre-employment physical and include a lifting test- up to 50 pounds.

Best case scenario-  hire the person with the biggest arms smile
Also,  add this lifting requirement as an essential function on the position’s job description - ASAP.

Brian Phillips

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Brian Phillips -  Harvis Inc

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