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PRST 5910/6910/7910 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PRST 5910/6910/7910 - Employment and Human Resource Law

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

PRST 5910 is required for Master of Professional Studies students wishing to pursue the Concentration in Human Resources Leadership.

This course provides an overview of legal issues affecting the administration of employment issues, human resource management and leadership. The course focuses on policies and laws that impact human resource decisions in organizations. The course content includes laws, regulations, and court decisions covering labor-management relations and other human resource issues.

The course’s main purpose is to instruct the human resources manager as well as the pre-service student about the field and practice of employment and human resource law. Employment contracts, how the law defines an employee and the significance of the distinction between employee, worker and self-employed individual will be covered. Particular attention will be paid to the substance and significance of the employment contract as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as it applies to employment.

This course will emphasize the application of theoretical knowledge discussed in class lectures to “real world” situations and events through the use of news accounts, case study analyses or other activities. The student will be expected to demonstrate her/his knowledge of human resources and employment law through various readings and written exercises.


Course Outcomes:

 General objectives for students are to learn and be able to apply general management principles and techniques in a workplace setting. The role of personnel manager is stressed throughout the course, to define and clarify responsibilities, areas of authority, decision-making, and technical knowledge of services, systems, and procedures. While the subject primarily targets personnel managers, all supervisors and managers benefit from effective personnel management skills, knowledge and abilities. Specific student objectives are as follows.

As a result of successfully completing this course, students should be able to:

a. discuss contemporary legal issues in the personnel field and be able to apply these lessons to practical employment examples;

b. develop legally informed strategies for recruiting, hiring, retaining, promoting and terminating employees;

c. create a legally defensible affirmative action plan;

d. list several methods of validating tests and explain their use;

e. outline the elements of Title VII as it affects employment practices;

f. explain the regulations concerning equal employment opportunity, different types of intentional and unintentional discrimination as well as types of discrimination based on attributes;

g. describe how wage, hour and related statutes inform and shape compensation practices; and

h. similarly, explain how employment law guides the construction and implementation of workers’ benefits;

i. explain how the Occupational Safety and Health Act regulates workplace design and maintenance;

j. discuss privacy and other emerging issues affecting employee rights and employer practices;

k. create examples of job analysis for improved employment practices.

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Admission to the Master of Professional Studies program or departmental approval.

Course Topics:

Students should expect each week to review the assignments for that week's module. The subject matter is organized first around an introduction to relevant employment and human resource law with fundamental information about its legal foundation. Then various aspects of these and related laws are examined in detail. Students should follow the modules in the sequence laid out in the schedule. The course activities will involve discussions on line most weeks.Fourteen brief papers are required throughout the term and at the close of term a final examination will be distributed on line. Topics include:

  •  Regulations concerning employment and human resource management
  •  The impact of regulation on human resource management practices
  •  Regulatory issues in Equal Employment Opportunity
  •  Intentional and unintentional discrimination: disparate treatment/disparate impact
  •  Discrimination based on sex
  •  Discrimination based on religion, age, disability
  •  National origin discrimination and immigration issues
  •  Affirmative action
  •  Wage and hour statutes and compensation
  •  Compensation and benefits
  •  Laws affecting workplace health and safety
  •  Employment-at-will, employee discipline and negligent hiring practices
  •  Privacy and recent developments in employment regulation
  •  Job analysis
Specific Course Requirements:

None applicable

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:
Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

The following rubric indicates unsatisfactory, satisfactory and excellent progress in the mastery of course material.

Grading Procedures:
CriterionRubric: Inferior (C)Rubric: Satisfactory (B)Rubric: Excellent (A)
UnderstandingSeems to understand texts and requirements but does not express this clearly and explicitly. Does not use concepts from the text or class to analyze paper’s elements.Shows solid grasp of concepts. Discusses ideas Clearly,explicitly. Seldom misunderstands materials or expresses them poorly.Shows complex, sophisticated Understanding of concepts, theories. Uses many concepts to analyze issues. Can envision beyond what was taught and form own ideas.
Using conceptsExamples or analogies are not apt, are naïve, or repeat instructor/text examples. Comparisons, contrasts between concepts are naïve,unclear or incorrect.Does not apply theory to practical experience appropriatelyUses appropriate examples,analogies. Draws appropriate comparisons,contrasts between various concepts used in class. Can apply theory and ideas to practical experience. Demonstrates knowledge required for paperExamples, analogies are interesting and suggest additional Possibilities. Discussion is clear and detailed. Draws insightful contrasts between various concepts. Applies theories, ideas creatively and innovatively.
Critical thinking and reasoningMostly reiterates in-class or text discussion. Draws inappropriate inferences. Accepts what others say/write uncriticallyOccasionally offers critical Commentary. Can identify underlying theory,values. Arguments are logical and clear,Offers penetrating criticism of material, Shows pros, cons, explains why. Arguments are sophisticated and clear.
Writing and argumentationNo evidence of revision, editing. Some spelling, grammatical errors. Argument lacks flow, logic, clarityEvidence of revision, editing. Few spelling or grammatical errors. Argument flows, is logical and clear.Presentation is clear, smooth. Errors are rare. Argument is persuasive on its own terms.


Grading Scale:

Final Grading Scale:

A = 600- 550;

B = 549 - 499;

C = 498 - 448;

D = 447 - 375;

F = below 374.

Individual Grading Scale:

A = 100 – 90;

B = 89 – 80;

C = 79 – 70;

D = 69 – 60;

F = below 60.

Assignments and Projects:

Reflection log

14 at 20 points each                         280 points

Discussion Postings

10 postings at 15 points each            150 points

Final Examination                             170 points

Total                                                600 points

Please refer to Course Calendar for applicable deadlines

Discussion 1: What is the impact of government regulations on the workplace? (15 points)

Reflection 1 (20 points)

Discussion 2: Explain EEO investigation outcomes (15 points)

Reflection 2 (20)

Discussion 3: Intentional Discrimination: Disparate Treatment (15)

Reflection 3 (20)

Reflection 4 (20)

Reflection 5 (20)

Discussion 4: Discrimination Based on Sex, Religion, Age, Disability (15)

Reflection 6 (20)

Discussion 5: Affirmative Action (15)

Reflection 8 (20)

Reflection 9 (20)

Discussion 6: Compensation: Benefits (15)

Reflection 10 (20)

Discussion 7: Workplace Health and Safety (15)

Reflection 11 (20)

Discussion 8: Employment-at-Will, Employee Discipline and Negligent Hiring Issues (15)

Reflection 12 (20)

Discussion 9: Privacy Issues in Employment Regulation (15)

Reflection 13 (20)

Discussion 10: Job Analysis (15)

Reflection 14 (20)

Discussion Postings

Almost every week the instructor will pose a question on the Discussion link to monitor student progress. This is a way for the instructor to check whether students understand the readings. It is anticipated that there will be ten discussions each of which will be worth fifteen points of the final grade.

The recommended plan for posting on Discussions is first, to review previous postings (if any) carefully then consider what is expected of you. This is what is meant by acting as a “lurker”! You are encouraged to consult the “Discussion Question Rubric,” found under the eLearn Content link before Module I, especially in the beginning of the course. It contains valuable information concerning how to post adequately as well as the standards used by the instructor to evaluate your contribution.

Once you have posted you should review any subsequent comments. If for example you have posted incorrectly or inadequately and the posting was submitted before deadline, you will have an opportunity to revise and resubmit. Finally, once the deadline is passed review all previously unread comments on the particular discussion. Remember that exchanges between students and the instructor are where learning flourishes.

If students experience problems in the course or encounter difficulty in mastering the material, use the CYBER CAFE forum for this purpose. The Cyber Café is the first forum listed under the Discussion link. You may not be the only one failing to understand the material and others can learn from your posing the question. Certainly, if privacy is a concern, email, call or visit me. I urge you not to wait to follow up on problem-solving. Treat this class as a learning exercise for all of us, the instructor included.

Reflection Log

At the close of each module is a section titled Summary and Reflection. The Summary wraps up the main points of the module. The last paragraph of the Summary poses a question, a series of questions or a problem for the student. One Reflection is expected for each of the fourteen modules. Each Reflection is worth 20 points or 280 points of the final grade. These questions, issues or problems are designed to test the student’s ability to reflect thoroughly on the content of that module and apply what she has learned to the world of practice. The student is to devote some time to this exercise and, after consulting the “Reflection Rubric” criteria for standards, write several pages for submission that week. The deadline for each Reflection submission is posted on the course calendar. The “Reflection Rubric” is available under the Content link before Module I.

Students must submit all Reflection assignments through the eLearn drop box option for the course.

Important: if the drop box is not available due to technical reasons, email the assignment to the instructor at the address provided. Whether you use the drop box or email, the time stamp must indicate that you have submitted by the stated deadline for the assignment. The instructor reserves the right to reject assignments submitted after the deadline. See Late Policy below for more information. Considering that technical glitches can and do occur, it is wise to submit well before the deadline.

Final Examination 

This short answer and essay examination will test the student’s ability to integrate or pull together the subject matter and apply what she or he has learned throughout the course. It will be held on line during the last class session and is worth 170 points of the final grade.

Testing Procedures:

To participate in the final exam, students must download the Respondus Browser. Instructions for downloading will be provided at a later date.

Class Participation:

Course Netiquette and Classroom Civility:

Appropriate netiquette is expected in any course taught on line. Some rules for appropriate conduct may be obvious in both on campus and on-line courses.

Respect others’ privacy and opinions. Avoid criticism which is neither constructive nor subject-related. Share expert knowledge to elucidate your point. For further guidance on these matters,consult:

As with “brick and mortar” classes you are expected to follow all University rules regarding language and behavior, and in all other matters. If inappropriate conduct occurs through or as a result of participation in an on-line course, it is still subject to penalties.

Late Policy:

Assignments may only be submitted late in the event of an emergency. Students are to contact the instructor prior to the due date of the assignment regarding any delays or a request for an extension (due to an emergency). If you do not contact the instructor prior to the due date you will not be eligible to submit an assignment late. 

You will only be granted a five day extension with a penalty (deduction). Late assignments will receive a 20% deduction from the awarded grade. Please understand that late assignments will not be accepted after five days pass the due date. For Example: If a module is due February 4, 2011, it will not be accepted after February 9, 2011. This is non-negotiable.

Exception: You miss the deadline by a couple of minutes (1-10 minutes) and the dropbox has closed. You must do the following:

1. Email the instructor and explain what has happened (e.g. you submitted the wrong assignment to the dropbox and it is not 12:02 am and the dropbox has closed). In your email you will ask if the instructor is willing to open the dropbox for you to submit your assignment late.

2. If the instructor agrees, submit the module/assignment within 24 hours.

3. Email the instructor once you have submitted your module/assignment to the dropbox.

Note: It is at the discretion of the instructor as to whether a student is allowed to submit an assignment late. The late policy is for emergencies only. The student must request that the Dropbox is reopened for any late assignment. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on May 16, 2017