PHR Certification Practice Test 3

Practice Questions

1. Which of the following questions is not one of the questions that a human resources professional needs to address in a Human Management Capital Plan (HCMP) during strategic planning?

a. Where have we come from?
b. Where are we now?
c. Where do we want to be?
d. How will we get there?
e. How will we know when we have arrived?

2. As of July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage was established at $7.25 per hour. Grace Clothing, a successful line of retail clothing stores located in California, will be hiring 10 new workers at minimum wage with the option for commission. California has a statewide minimum wage of $8.00 per hour, so the company owners have contacted human resources manager Edwina regarding the disparity in minimum wage pay at the state and federal level. Which statement below best quotes the policy Edwina would cite to help Grace Clothing resolve the difference?

a. Grace Clothing is required to pay employees the lowest minimum wage of any state in the country, which is $5.15
b. When a federal minimum wage is lower than a state minimum wage, companies may use the federal minimum wage as their standard
c. When a state minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, the company is required to pay the state minimum over the federal minimum
d. The size of Grace Clothing makes it exempt from minimum wage requirements, so the company has no obligation to follow either federal or state minimum wage
e. The presence of commission means that Grace Clothing can lower the minimum wage that it pays workers because the commission payments compensate for the lower minimum pay

3. The WARN Act was designed to do which of the following?
a. Prevent massive lay-offs that disrupt the economy
b. Provide new positions for employees that have been laid off
c. Create government funding to support a struggling company
d. Establish full severance pay for those who have been laid off
e. Ensure rights for employees who have been laid off

4. Arthur is an employee of a distribution company and is looking to request FMLA-approved leave for personal reasons. Arthur contacts Brad, a human resources professional at the company, to find out if he is eligible for this type of leave. Arthur has worked for the company for 9 months. What is the minimum period of time that an employee needs to work for an employer to request leave according to FMLA guidelines?

a. 8 months
b. 10 months
c. 12 months
d. 15 months
e. 18 months

5. Which of the following best represents what an employer can do when employees begin to unionize?

a. Employers may contact union leaders and forbid unionization.
b. Employers may block employees who begin the process of unionization
c. Employers may threaten to replace workers who choose to unionize
d. Employers may explain problems with unionization to employees
e. Employers are not allowed to discuss unionization with employees

6. Which of the following is a necessary part of the three plans that all organizations must develop?

a. Company policy about employee protection
b. Disaster recovery
c. Hazard assessment
d. Union policy for employee protection
e. Fellow servant rule

7. According to Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in First, Break All the Rules, which of the following is not one of the four factors that help to create eager and content employees?

a. Terminate employees who fail to connect with other members of the team
b. Create clear goals for all employees and provide rewards for completed goals
c. Focus on the strengths of each employee and encourage individual growth
d. Identify potential employees who demonstrate versatility and a combination of KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities)
e. Locate the most advantageous work situation for each employee

8. A private company works as a contractor for federal defense agency. As a result of this agreement, many of the contractor employees will be engaging in positions of extreme sensitivity, and the contractor would like to give polygraph tests to employees. What is the federal policy regarding polygraph tests in this situation?

a. All contractor employees may be given polygraph tests
b. Federal law makes polygraphs illegal for anyone or any institution but the government to administer
c. The employer may utilize anyone in the company to administer the polygraph
d. Because the contractor does other work outside of his or her work with the defense agency, polygraphs are not allowed
e. The polygraph test may be administered only to those who will be working in defense-related jobs

9. The “golden” benefits for executive compensation packages include all of the following except:

a. Golden lifeboat
b. Golden parachute
c. Golden handshake
d. Golden handcuffs
e. Golden life jacket

10. During a lawful economic strike, employers have the right to do which of the following?

a. Confront employees and require that they return to work at the risk of being fired
b. Hire new employees to replace striking employees
c. Encourage the union to disband or a suggest the formation of a new union
d. Disband union bargaining and require new representation
e. Restrict union bargaining if they negatively impact company’s finances

Answers and Explanations

1. A: A Human Management Capital Plan is forward thinking; the questions asked look at the present and into the future. As a result, a human resources professional who is setting up a HCMP should ask the following questions as demonstrated in answer choices B, C, D, and E: Where are we now? Where do we want to be? How will we get there? How will we know when we arrive? Answer choice A, which asks where have we come from, addresses an issue that does not apply to this portion of strategic planning, so it is correct.

2. C: Minimum wage law is as follows: the federal minimum wage is primary if the state minimum wage is lower than the federal minimum wage. If the state minimum wage is higher than the federal level, however, the company is required to pay the state minimum wage. In other words, companies are expected to pay whatever happens to be higher. There are, of course, a number of variables that can affect minimum wage and what a company is expected to pay, but in question 10 one should assume that Grace Clothing in California is required to pay whatever happens to be the higher minimum wage. This means that answer choices A and B are immediately incorrect. In the case of answer choice D, the question does not provide any information about the size of the company, so the answer choice becomes irrelevant to the discussion. (Again, it must be assumed based on the question that Grace Clothing is required to pay minimum wage; the real question is which minimum wage?) And answer choice E is incorrect because the presence of commission should not necessarily affect minimum wage. The minimum wage is the minimum a company is expected to pay employees. Any commissions represent an addition to payment, but because commissions cannot be guaranteed they cannot compensate for lower minimum wage.

3. E: The WARN Act is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which was designed to offer rights for workers who have been laid off. Answer choice A is incorrect because the act was certainly not designed to prevent massive lay-offs but rather to give workers “adjustment and retraining” in the event of massive lay-offs. Answer choice B is incorrect because the act cannot necessarily provide new positions for workers who have been laid off. Answer choice C is incorrect; while the act creates government funding for workers who have lost their jobs, it does not create government funding for a struggling company. And answer choice D is incorrect because the act cannot provide severance pay for those who have been laid off.

4. C: According to FMLA guidelines, an employee must work for an employer for a minimum of 12 months (not necessarily consecutively) in order to apply for FMLA-approved leave. Because Arthur has only worked for the company for 9 months, he will not be eligible to apply for type of leave, which is what Brad – as the human resources professional – will be required to explain to Arthur. Answer choices A, B, D, and E are incorrect because each represents the wrong period of time for FMLA leave.

5. D: When an employer discovers that employees are beginning to unionize, the employer is not allowed to prevent unionization. The employer can, however, provide information to employees about the problems involved with unionization. Answer choice A is incorrect because the employer may not contact union leaders and forbid unionization. Answer choice B is incorrect because employers are not allowed to block employees who begin to unionize. Answer choice C is incorrect because employers may not threaten to replace workers who choose to unionize (although employers may replace workers during a lawful economic strike). Answer choice E is incorrect because employers are allowed to discuss unionization with employees; however, the substance of that discussion can be restricted by law.

6. A: However organizations choose to create their plans, a company policy about employee protection is required for all of them. This policy lets employees know what the organization’s approach to employee protection is. Answer choice B is incorrect because a disaster recovery plan is not a necessary part of the three plans. Answer choice C is incorrect because organizations are not obligated to include hazard assessment in all three plans. Answer choice D is incorrect because organizations are not required to include a union policy about employee protection. And answer choice E is incorrect because organizations are not required to create a fellow servant rule. In fact, the fellow servant rule is a part of common law doctrine that is now considered obsolete.

7. A: Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman’s First, Break All the Rules takes a positive approach to improving the situation for employees; terminating an employee would not necessarily create a positive situation. Instead, Buckingham and Coffman suggest that a human resources professional work on the steps provided in answer choices B, C, D, and E, which are creating goals, focusing on individual employee strengths, identifying employee KSAs, and locating the most advantageous work situation for employees.

8. E: Polygraph tests are allowed among federal defense contractors but may only be administered to those who will be working in the defense-related jobs. Most large contractors will not limit their contract work to the government, so it is entirely possible that the company will have employees doing work that is unrelated to the defense jobs. What is more, the employees who do work in connection with the defense agency but do not necessarily do sensitive work will not require polygraph testing. As a result, answer choice A is incorrect because there is no justification for testing all employees of the contractor. Answer choice B is incorrect because federal law does allow for polygraph testing in certain situations. Answer choice C is incorrect because it does not really address the question and because the information is not accurate–polygraph tests must be administered by certified professionals. Answer choice D is also incorrect because the nature of the contractor’s work for the defense agency will likely justify polygraph testing for many of the employees.

9. A: The “golden” benefits for executive compensation packages include the golden parachute (answer choice B), the golden handshake (answer choice C), the golden handcuffs (answer choice D), and the golden life jacket (answer choice E). There is no golden lifeboat, however, so answer choice A is correct because it does not fall within this category of benefits for executive compensation packages.

10. B: During a lawful economic strike, employers do have the right to hire employees to replace the striking employees. Answer choices A, C, D, and E are incorrect because they each represent types of unfair labor practices. Employers may not fire employees who refuse to cease striking instead of returning to work. They also may not encourage the union to disband and/or suggest the formation of a new union. Nor may the employer disband union bargaining and require new representation, or restrict union bargaining if this negatively impacts company’s finances.