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Human Resources

ADA-Compliant Language for Essential Actions

Writing an inclusive position description involves being intentional with word choices to avoid discouraging qualified people with disabilities from applying for jobs. When identifying essential job actions (actions that the individual who holds or desires the position must be able to perform unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation), choose words that convey the actual requirements of the job without limiting the physical demands to certain abilities. To determine if an action is an essential action, ask 1) if the action is critical to job success, and 2) if the action occurs infrequently, is it critical to successful job performance?

The following table contains examples and explanations of the essential action options listed on the PER-1 and position description in PageUp.

ADA-Compliant Term
Example of Physical Demand
Position self (to move)Crouching, stooping, crawling
Move/traverseWalk, run
Work atopBalance
Twist/bendTwist side-to-side/bend at waist
Stationary positionSit, stand
Position, detect, operateFeel, handle
ManeuverPull, push
Retrieve from ground levelSquat
Repetitive movementPerforming a task repeatedly

Communicate in written language

Input dataUse keyboard
DriveOperate vehicle


Please reach out to the Compensation and Organizational Effectiveness team with any questions about essential job actions at hrcomp@ksu.edu.