1. There exists a position to perform that function.
2. The number of employees are limited to perform that function.
3. The function is highly specialized and an incumbent Is hired for his/her expertise.
Essential function must be identified for each position. It must be based on the work performed rather than the capabilities of an individual. A job analysis can help an employer to find out which function an employee can actually perform. An essential function is a complete task rather than how a task can be completed. For example, an essential function may be to relocate 50 kgs of box.
The essential function is the primary reason for which a position was created. For example, a floating supervisor job exists to provide an alternate when regular supervisors are not present.
If an essential function is removed then the need for that particular position will not exist. For example, removing the essential function “provide guidance and resources to clients” from a customer service position would fundamentally change the job position and ask the need for it.
To identify the need for an essential functions:
• When a position is empty, established or reallocated
• Before interviewing a candidate for a particular position
• Before conducting any conditional offer medical exam
The best time to identify essential function is when a position is established. An employer can take help from those functions if it engages in the reasonable accommodation process.
Why we need to identify an essential function:
• To avoid any inconsistence or unfair employment decisions
• Name a position and make sure that employees understand their expectation form that position