Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Required: Lifting 25 lbs. of Nothing

I have alerts set on LinkedIn for Controller and Assistant Controller jobs. In the past few years, I have noticed an increasing number of companies posting physical requirements for accounting work.

One came up that read "Physical Requirements: This position requires you to sit, stand and perform general office functions. You may also be required to lift up to 25 pounds occasionally. Bending, stooping and reaching are also frequently required."

As someone who has chronic pain, this makes me angry.

As someone who has hired and worked with people who have disabilities, illnesses, injuries, are pregnant, or are in their 80s and 90s, this seriously pisses me off.

Why should people be dissuaded from applying for accounting work when they only rarely must lift up to 25 lbs.??


At first, it looks to me like a barrier to entry for anyone who can’t lift up to 25 lbs.

Then I said, maybe I’m too cynical and there is an actual legal requirement for this. Like a CYA for companies who don’t want to pay worker’s compensation on the occasion an employee lifts a heavy box and hurts themselves.

But the more I looked into it, it was what I thought at first. That companies don’t want to hire certain employees.


I found that the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics has categories of the type of work and requirements for lifting weights. Most office jobs are classified as “Sedentary” which they define as requiring a strength level based on the weight and duration of lifting and carrying. Sedentary work requires the lifting or carrying of up to 10 lbs. seldom or occasionally, negligible weight frequently, and no weight constantly. Also sedentary work is met when no more than one-third of the workday is spent standing. More fun details here

The types of jobs they classify as sedentary include personal financial advisors, computer programmers, insurance agents, budget analysts, and billing and posting clerks. So, billing and posting clerks (Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable most likely) are in the sedentary category and they are the ones, in my experience, that deal with large piles of invoices and backup documents.

Then, which jobs require lifting and carrying up to 25 lbs. you ask? Well, that is the next category, classified as “Light Work” which the US BLS defines as seldom and occasionally lifting and carrying 11-25 lbs., 1-10 lbs. frequently, and negligible weight constantly. These jobs include: hairdressers, restaurant hosts and hostesses, waiters and waitresses, teachers and instructors, dental assistants, and phlebotomists. There is no way that our accounting jobs require us to lift the paper equivalent of the trays of plates and glasses a waiter or waitress must lift and carry after every single table. And there is no way we are standing and bending (even with a sit/stand desk), the hours a dental assistant does.


OK, at this point you might argue that this particular job was posted by some really old-school company that keeps banker's boxes of old, dusty paper files and binders in the basement or warehouse. I used to have to dig through such boxes in the 1990s and early 2000s. Even then, someone delivered them up for us. I have lugged boxes of files as an auditor but that was before everything was “paperless.”

No, my friends. Without giving away too much information, the business that posted this job in this 2020s paperless world is a cryptocurrency company! Less than 10 years old! The job description goes on and on about how they love to create efficiencies and how they are so non-traditional. Yeah OK, keep thinking that...

So, why the hell do they expect that their Accounting people should be able to lift and carry up to 25 pounds?

Job postings like this one signal to certain job seekers not to even bother applying; that they will not be an ideal candidate for the job. Basically, if you are disabled, pregnant, old, or even have a sports injury, they don't want you. And they even have the nerve to include an "Equal Employment Opportunity" paragraph directly after. I am not kidding.

Accounting jobs should NOT be restricted by lift and carry requirements. This is so completely ridiculous. Think about it – People who start off being able to lift up to 25 lbs. will eventually grow older, get pregnant, get injured, or sustain an illness. It is part of life. But guess what? We can still do accounting work!

No comments:

Post a Comment