Federal Employment Law on the PHR/SPHR Exams - dummies

Federal Employment Law on the PHR/SPHR Exams

By Sandra M. Reed

With the exception of Business Management and Strategy, each functional area of the PHR/SPHR exam bodies of knowledge (BOK) starts with some version of “ensure that these activities are compliant with applicable federal laws and regulations.” Hence, make sure that you’re prepared for the PHR or SPHR exam and know these laws. Rote memorization isn’t sufficient though. Become close friends with the following information:

  • The number of employees that triggers coverage: Regardless of the size of the employer you work for, a labor law applies. Some of the test questions attempt to distract you with incorrect information based on the number of employees required to trigger protection.

    Make yourself a table that has a few columns, as shown in the following table. Head each of the columns with a number and fill in the blanks with the labor laws that are triggered by that number of employees.

    You need to do the legwork here. The practice of doing the research to find the numbers takes you deep into the material, a sure way to reinforce the concept for recall on the exam.

  • Who the law is designed to protect: Some of these laws protect the worker, some grant the employer certain rights, and a few others protect a union. Know who the law is protecting so you can interpret exam questions more effectively.

  • Why the law was passed in the first place: Adult learners tend to retain information best when they understand why something is relevant. If this describes you, pay attention to a bit of the history surrounding the law or court case to improve your ability to recall the details on test day.

  • The employment context: Many of these laws apply to more than one legal domain. Be sure and focus your studying on how the law defines the employment context.

    Most of these labor laws have some form of a frequently asked question (FAQ) document online. Take the time to access these documents (use credible sources such as the Department of Labor or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), and then use the FAQs to create digital flashcards or quizzes on free websites such as examtime. Other credential seekers may have already done some of this for you, so check it out.

Test Preparations
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Workers compensation laws Americans with Disabilities Act Age Discrimination in Employment Act Executive order 11246
Fair Labor Standards Act Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Family Medical Leave Act