2022 Master Class: The ‘New' Normal: The State of Labor Relations and Employment Law

Events / February 1, 2022

The Master Class will be offered virtually on Tuesdays in 2022, from February 1 through May 3.

2 p.m. ET

1 p.m. CT

12 p.m. MT

11 a.m. PT

Please join us for BakerHostetler’s The ‘New’ Normal: The State of Labor Relations and Employment Law Master Class. Our 9th Annual Master Class will be virtual again this year, as it was last year, due to the continuation of the pandemic. The series will continue to offer all new high-level sessions, hitting specific and practical headline issues that will be affecting employers of all sizes in all industries.

Register Today


Master Class Schedule

See below for session descriptions or click here to view the 2022 Master Class brochure

CLE credit is approved in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, and is pending in other states. HRCI and SHRM credits are also available.

February 1, 2021: Opening Plenary Session – The ‘New’ Normal: The State of Labor Relations and Employment Law

Join us on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, for an insightful discussion with attorneys from BakerHostetler’s Labor & Employment Group, who will discuss the current state of affairs regarding workplace legal developments This session is designed to give you a preview of the topics that will be covered throughout the 2022 Master Class.

February 8, 2022: Navigating a Forever Changed Post-Pandemic Workplace: 

As employees continue to return to the physical workplace, employers are navigating a broad spectrum of federal, state and local COVID-19 legislation that continues to be developed to reflect new or changing COVID-19 restrictions and guidance.  In determining how to keep their employees safe (while creating some normalcy), employers continue to struggle with whether, or how, to update return-to-work health and safety protocols, implement mandatory vaccination policies, and address employees who do not want to return to the workplace.  This includes creating and maintaining personnel policies to address requests for medical or religious accommodations; remote-work opportunities and technology; COVID-19-related sick leave laws; and applicable recall statutes.  As an overlay, employers must also understand and abide by employee health and privacy laws.  This session will address these issues and more.

February 15, 2022: Union Organizing in the Era of COVID-19 and the New NLRB: Effective Strategies for a Vastly Different Playing Field

Union organizing has officially entered uncharted territory. Never since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act has the field been tilted so transparently in favor of unions. These developments are occurring just as businesses are learning how to operate in a new, challenging environment that involves a mixture of COVID recovery, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, and social and political justice concerns. Contemporary issues such as health and safety policies, mandatory vaccinations, masking requirements, telework, diversity, business ethics, leave allowances, technological changes, job training, and severance pay have become rallying calls for union organizing, alongside traditional issues such as wage increases, healthcare coverage, pensions, scheduling and seniority.  With companies finding it difficult to attract and retain employees, and unions leveraging the moment to weaponize employee uncertainty, the climate for organizing is more favorable than it has been in decades. How will your company respond?  We look forward to that discussion in this session.  

February 22, 2022: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice:  Practical Steps for Instituting Best Practices

It’s time for employers to make good on promises of a diverse workforce - one that is representative of the communities where we live and work. Hiring diverse talent is a first step to enabling employers to “check the box,” but more needs to be done to ensure that talent is retained and thrives. How do we move beyond our usual networks to find and retain talent representative of the larger society? What training do supervisors need in order to recognize how inherent biases undermine retaining diversity? How do we move beyond responding to the politics or pressure of the moment to bring about lasting change? Join us for a practical discussion of best practices designed to ensure and sustain a workplace that is truly diverse, inclusive and equitable.

March 1, 2022: Remote Work and Other COVID Recovery Considerations:  New Rules to Adapt to a “New Normal”

Before the pandemic, an estimated 5 to 12 percent of the US. workforce worked remotely.  Since the start of the pandemic, that range has increased to between 50 and 75 percent.  And it is estimated that 1 in 4 Americans will continue in either a hybrid or full-time remote work arrangement even after the pandemic subsides. Remote work raises a host of corporate governance, employment and tax issues for employers.  Failing to address these issues can have negative financial and reputational consequences.  Policies and processes to manage these risks are therefore critical.  In this session, employment and tax experts will discuss how employers can use remote work as an opportunity to improve and make their workforces and systems operate more efficiently beyond the pandemic, while also avoiding risk.

March 8, 2022: Strikes, Job Actions and ‘Concerted Activity’:  On the Rise for NonUnion and Unionized Business

The pandemic has created enough stress on the economy to last a lifetime, and the unique pressures experienced by employees have resulted in a drastic increase in workplace activism. Organized labor has responded by resorting to well-known, but rarely used, tactics, which has created a resurgence in strikes, protests and other concerted activity. During the pandemic, workers left their jobs in droves, creating the “Great Resignation” of 2020-21. The result? Employees have more leverage today than they have had in decades. Organized labor is seizing the opportunity by dusting off the strike as a bargaining weapon. In light of these developments, unionized employers need to carefully plan for bargaining and anticipate whether they are vulnerable to job actions. Meanwhile, non-union employers need to assess whether they are ripe for concerted activity. And of course, the National Labor Relations Board is poised to assist with the most labor-friendly agenda in years. This session will help you identify and plan for the risks you will face when dealing with this unprecedented environment, and identify strategies to address the threat of strikes, job actions and concerted activity to make sure your business is protected during this unsettled time.

March 15, 2022: Wage and Hour:  What Has Changed and What to Watch

Under the Biden administration, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor has engaged in increased rule-making and enhanced enforcement efforts related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Additionally, many states layer on top of the FLSA their own requirements and enforcement mechanisms. Even the most conscientious human resources, payroll and legal professionals can miss nuances that can lead to costly enforcement actions and litigation. This session will help employers navigate this array of FLSA rules and regulations, as well as state laws, in order to mitigate risk and avoid penalties, fines and costly litigation. 

March 22, 2022: OSHA:  The COVID Effect Present and Future

After months of OSHA sitting on the sidelines with respect to COVID-19, President Biden put the agency front and center this fall by directing it to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) mandating that all employers with 100 or more employees require vaccination of their employees.  The ETS directive has come on the heel of other governmental and private initiatives concerning vaccine mandates, which leaves employers with a myriad of questions about how best to deal with the realities of running a business during the pandemic. This session will address the difficult and sometimes unanswered issues in complying with the ETS, such as record keeping obligations, determining the applicability of religious and medical exemptions, and navigating conflicting state and local laws. We will also take a look at best practices and lessons learned by employers during this period and any enforcement efforts by OSHA.  Finally, we will explore what OSHA may do (or not do) in regard to promulgating a permanent regulation addressing employee vaccinations.

March 29, 2022: Negotiation of Collective Bargaining Agreements:  The Must-Do Bargaining Checklist Under the New Board Rules

Unions are looking to make gains for their members in all industries.  In the COVID-19 recovery, many business sectors are struggling with strained supply chains, a shortage of qualified staff and broad inflationary pressures, all of which increase union negotiating leverage.  Buoyed by support from a labor-friendly federal administration, union negotiators want to lock in historic contract gains.  This session will examine the new “checklist” for companies preparing to negotiate a union contract in this new era.  Together we will discuss tactics that have proven effective under new NLRB regulations, traps for the unwary and the proposals that companies should keep on the table despite union opposition.          

April 5, 2022: Answering Tough Questions About Independent Contractors, Joint Employment and the Contingent Workforce, Using Songs by The Who

The use of nonemployee workers in “My Generation” is widespread and growing, but legal compliance is becoming more challenging all the time. A year into the Biden administration, we’re seeing massive changes again. Who is “The Real Me?” The NLRB, DOL and several states are making it harder to maintain independent contractor status, but a handful of red states have gone in the opposite direction, creating new safe harbors. The rules for joint employment are changing, too. Learn what businesses coast to coast need to know about legal compliance when using nonemployee workers. It’s “Another Tricky Day.”

April 12, 2022: Handbooks and Policies -- The Re-Emerging Breeding Ground for Unfair Labor Practices and Other Employment Claims

Lawyers and human resources professionals spend a lot of time reviewing and updating handbooks and personnel policies – with good reason!  What an employer has (or does not have) in its handbook or policies can have a significant impact on its defense to claims made under the National Labor Relations Act, Title VII, the FMLA, the FLSA, and other federal, state and local laws. In this session, we will discuss how employers can avoid creating problems with their handbooks and policies, and how they actually can use handbooks and policies to their advantage.

April 19, 2022: Attract and Retain? Who, and for How Long? Benefit Plan Designs & Considerations for a 21st-Century, Post-COVID World

It’s now a buyer’s market for human talent. About 4.3 million people quit their jobs in a single month in 2021, and many job openings go begging. Employee benefits and perquisites traditionally have been viewed as forms of compensation that help attract and retain key workers, but are employee benefits and benefit plans now so “plain vanilla” that they no longer are even relevant, much less prized? Or is something else going on? More important, what can be done about it? This program explores the broader legal and regulatory boundaries of what is doable when it comes to employee benefit plans and compensatory policies, while not neglecting the importance of being financially practical and understanding the costs associated with delivering promised benefits to the workers an organization needs to both attract and retain.

April 26, 2022: Noncompetition Agreements – An Endangered Species? What You Can Do to Protect Your Business Interests

Noncompetition Agreements have been an employer’s traditional mechanism to protect against critical employees leaving to work for competitors and to stop confidential information and trade secrets from walking out the door. Long since viewed with skepticism by courts, such agreements are now under outright attack, as states and the District of Columbia have passed significant limitations, and even outright bans, on who can be covered by a non-compete agreement. The Biden administration is also encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to ban or limit non-compete agreements. In this session, we will discuss the breadth of recent legislative actions and provide employers with creative and practical suggestions as to how they lawfully can protect their legitimate business interests in this current environment.

May 3, 2022: Master Class 2022 Wrap-Up

Join us on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, for the final session of the Master Class 2022 series. We will be joined by US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Commissioner Keith Sonderling as he and National Labor and Employment Group Chair Amy J. Traub review highlights and topics from prior Master Class sessions and look ahead as they discuss important developments on the horizon for employers to consider. We hope you can join us for this insightful discussion to conclude the 2022 series

Should you have any questions or prefer to register by email, please contact Emily Hillman at

We look forward to having you join us for this premier event.