Unprecedented: The State of Labor Relations and Employment Law Master Class

Events / The Master Class will be offered virtually on Tuesdays in 2021, from January 26 - April 27.

2 pm ET
1 pm CT
12 pm MT
11 am PT

Please join us for BakerHostetler’s Unprecedented: The State of Labor Relations and Employment Law Master Class. Our 8th Annual Master Class will be virtual, due to the pandemic, and it will still offer all new high-level sessions, hitting specific and practical headline issues that will be affecting employers of all sizes in all industries.

CLE credit is approved in New York and California and is pending in other states. HRCI and SHRM credit are also available.

Should you have any questions or prefer to register by phone, please contact Lynmarie Lane at or 312.416.6297.

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

January 26, 2021: Opening Plenary Session – Unprecedented: The State of Labor Relations and Employment Law

Join us for an insightful discussion with attorneys from BakerHostetler’s Labor and Employment Group, who will discuss current developments regarding workplace legal developments. This session is designed to give you a preview of the topics covered throughout the 2021 Master Class.

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February 2, 2021: Preparing for the Post-Pandemic Workplace: Understanding Your Requirements and Your Boundaries

While federal and state reopening plans continue to be developed, it remains to be seen whether the COVID-19 pandemic will come to a definitive end or become the “new normal.” As such, employers are preparing various contingency plans to address how to safely reopen their businesses (or continue to operate) while keeping their employees safe. Many employers continue to struggle with having to implement RIFs, furloughs, or cuts in hours or compensation. Others are focused on return-to-work protocols and policies and are dealing with personnel issues that include requests for accommodation; how to select who will return to work; navigating federal, state and local COVID-19-related sick leave laws; employees who do not want to return to the workplace; or the efficacy of remote-work policies. Employers are also struggling to understand their boundaries with respect to employee health and privacy issues. What information can they request, what restrictions can they impose on employees (particularly when they are working from home), and if developed, can an employer require an employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccine? This session will address these issues and more.

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February 9, 2021: Social Justice Movements and the Workplace: A How-To Discussion

As if the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t challenging employers enough, employers across the globe have been touched by discussions of social justice and the impact of civil unrest. Employees often want to express their views. Join us for a discussion on practical ways to create a workplace environment that is respectful, collaborative and supportive of a company’s business objectives.

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February 16, 2021: Union Organizing Through Contemporary Issues Campaigns: Fallout from the Pandemic

Historically, union organizing has been based upon traditional issues of the workplace. Wages, healthcare, pensions, seniority, schedules, vacations, holidays and similar “terms and conditions of employment” have been the catalysts to convince employees to seek representation under the National Labor Relations Act. While these issues are still important, the social justice agenda has become equally if not more enticing, particularly amidst the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Unions claim that they are the stable force to ensure that job-related contemporary issues are recognized by employers. Indeed, more union-organizing activity is founded upon promises to address #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, immigration, income inequality, LGBTQ discrimination, harassment, age discrimination, technological change and similar “noneconomic” issues. How a company should be prepared to assess and defend against this new wave of organizing will be the focus of this session.

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February 23, 2021: Beyond the Beltway: New Federal Policy amid the ‘New Normal’

As the United States hopes to emerge from a generational pandemic and the economic damage it wrought, policy and politics in Washington will be dominated by efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic – and to mitigate future disasters’ impact on workers and employers. What levers will the White House and Congress use to stimulate the economy? Will the renewed emphasis on workplace safety reenergize efforts to enhance collective bargaining and implement new OSHA standards? Did COVID-19 pave the way for a federal paid leave law beyond the pandemic? The experience of the past year will have a profound and enduring impact on policymakers’ views of labor and employment issues. A former U.S. congressman and a seasoned Washington political law attorney will provide their insights on the political and policy landscape for 2021 and beyond.

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March 2, 2021: COVID-19 Collective Bargaining: Planning for Pandemoniums

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world almost overnight, and labor relations were no exception. Many employers were forced to reduce labor costs drastically as a matter of survival, through either pay adjustments or layoffs. Schedules became unpredictable. Supply chains were broken. A bevy of government shutdown and stay-at-home orders combined with new federal paid leave legislation added compliance concerns to the already crowded mix. For a unionized employer in these dire straits, the language of the governing collective bargaining agreement can literally be the difference between survival and failure. This session will examine various strategies and options to protect a business when it is forced to confront the unexpected.

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March 9, 2021: Wage and Hour Essentials: What Companies Need to Know to Avoid FLSA Violations

While the focus of the Department of Labor ebbs and flows based on the administration, the DOL remains committed to enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act. And even where the DOL cedes the field, various state agencies will step in to fill the void. Indeed, even the most seasoned human resources, legal and payroll professionals can miss nuances in the FLSA regulations. Lack of compliance can be costly. This session will help employers navigate a wide variety of FLSA rules and regulations as well as state laws in order to avoid fines, penalties and costly litigation.

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March 16, 2021: The NLRB: Groundhog Day or Back to the Future?

Over the past several years, we have seen the NLRB undertake a stunning reversal of many of the expansive decisions of the previous Board. The 2020 presidential election once again puts labor law at a crossroads. We can expect to see further efforts to make the National Labor Relations Act more reactive to the political winds, setting policy through its decisions and rule-making authority. Employers can expect further shifts in the law. In this session, we will discuss where the NLRB has acted over the past year and discuss what we can expect to see in 2021 and beyond.

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March 23, 2021: Immigration: Scaling the Invisible Wall

As obstacles to legal immigration have been erected at a historic pace, what policies and trends will have the most significant impact on business immigration going forward? We will consider recent developments under the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the 2020 presidential election, and creative ways to challenge policy changes and heightened adjudication standards.

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March 30, 2021: OSHA Compliance in the Midst of a Pandemic: What You Don’t Know Might Hurt You

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought workplace safety to the forefront of employee concerns, yet OSHA has failed to issue COVID-19-specific standards, leaving employers guessing how best to deal with the new reality. This session will address the application of previously existing OSHA standards and requirements including, among other things, the General Duty Clause and workplace-related illness documentation and reporting obligations. We will also review the proper handling of OSHA inquiries, on-site inspections and investigations, and retaliation complaints. Also, we will take a look at the best practices that have been identified (including reliance on CDC recommendations), the safety issues that OSHA has been concentrating on (and issuing citations for), and what we expect OSHA to do next as employers continue to operate in increasingly challenging and ever-changing conditions.

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April 6, 2021: “Employee” Benefits and New Realities: From Healthcare to Retirement

2020 was a year that few will forget. All the challenges forced many Americans out of comfortable jobs and to rethink how, where and for whom they work. Retirement savings have been drained, and traditional benefits such as employer-provided healthcare have been stress-tested. Will creative arrangements be put in place to deal with the new realities? Will the workforce, and with it benefit plan structures, be transformed? And will the new administration encourage innovation in the way(s) organizations help workers get healthcare, deal with contingencies and save for retirement, or will it get in the way of private-sector efforts? What effect will recent Supreme Court decisions have on employer-provided healthcare? This discussion will cover changes to “traditional” retirement and savings, healthcare and insurance, and benefit platforms, and what organizations can anticipate seeing in the next year – and the years beyond that.

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April 13, 2021: Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Legal Developments Involving the LGBTQ Workforce

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, a landmark decision regarding whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination in the workplace “because of sex,” encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Court held in the affirmative, finding “it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.” While this case is illustrative of a nationwide trend providing for increased protections of LGBTQ employees at work, the future of these protections remains uncertain. This session takes stock of the legal landscape related to LGBTQ employees, including at the federal, state and local levels, and explores best practices for workplace conduct and policies impacting LGBTQ employees and related issues in the current environment.

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April 20, 2021: The Dynamics Are Changing: Insights on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

In response to the historic events that took place in 2020, employers have focused their efforts on developing or expanding meaningful and effective diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Yet despite some visible progress, these issues continue to play a center role in union-organizing drives, employee complaints or activism, and overall employee morale. This session explores lawful ways employers can address diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including how to attain better business outcomes and how to create an inclusive environment that fosters innovative ideas and improves overall business performance, as well as the sometimes counterintuitive legal limitations on the avenues available to help employers meet these goals.

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April 27, 2021: Virtual Reception

Join us on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 for a virtual “happy hour” reception that will close the 2021 Master Class. The reception will be your chance to network with BakerHostetler attorneys and other colleagues whom you may have met while participating throughout the 2021 Master Class. Reminders and additional details will be sent out closer to the date, and we encourage you to sign up early.

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