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Establishing position requirements

All jobs include certain tasks that are requirements of the position and are essential to the performance of the job.

When establishing position requirements, employers should ensure those requirements are not based on a ground protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHR Act) and would not prevent or discourage candidates from applying for the position unless the employer can demonstrate that the requirement is a bona fide occupational requirement. Employers should carefully examine position requirements to ensure that the requirements are bona fide and reasonable. Position requirements should be designed to encourage applications from all qualified candidates, regardless of race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation.

If a position requirement either directly or indirectly expresses a limitation, specification or preference based on one or more of the grounds protected under the AHR Act, an employer must show that the requirement is necessary as a bona fide occupational requirement.

For example, if a position requires an employee to be able to lift heavy weights, the employer must show that this ability is a bona fide occupational requirement--essential to the performance of the job. In making this assessment, the employer will need to consider possible modifications of the position, including the use of assistive devices such as hoists and other lifting systems.

Revised: December 16, 2009 


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