Online HR Degree Program Highlights

Human resource professionals serve as the crucial link between an organization’s management and its employees.

Dedicated to helping human resources (HR) professionals increase their overall knowledge and effectiveness, Tulane University Law School’s Online Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law (MJ-LEL) employs a collaborative learning environment where practical application is front and center.

A formal, academic credential in labor and employment law allows these individuals—whether they carry formal HR titles or are business managers with personnel responsibilities—to comply with the myriad regulations established by state and federal law. It allows them to successfully navigate everything from creating personnel manuals, to engaging in collective bargaining, to administering benefits, to handling sensitive employee relations issues.

The bright, accomplished, ambitious professionals who choose the MJ-LEL all work full time and participate in the program through a flexible online experience, visiting the Tulane campus just once for an immersive multi-day learning experience. The knowledge and skills they obtain in the program will make them more highly valued by their organizations. Without doubt, HR practitioners with an MJ in Labor & Employment Law from Tulane will outshine and outdistance their peers.

Program at a Glance

  • 12 courses
  • 30 credits
  • Mix of required and elective courses
  • Culminating capstone project course
  • Mix of live classes and asynchronous coursework
  • Complete in as few as two years
  • Three opportunities to start per year

Request Program Info

Who Chooses the Online MJ in Labor & Employment Law From Tulane?

This program is for you if you are:

  • The manager, director or VP of human resources at a global Fortune 500 company
  • The faculty coordinator at a public K-12 school with unionized teachers
  • President of a small business that is driven by the talents of its employees and contractors
  • Business or office manager at a small to mid-sized business where there is no formal HR department
  • Owner of a company that relies heavily on the subcontracted work of unions
  • An HR professional in any industry, in a company of any size, and at any point in your career
  • A professional who is planning a strategic career shift into human resources and wants to differentiate yourself from the competition by being a clear expert in the labor and employment laws that govern the way businesses interact with their people

John E. Koerner Endowed Professor of Law Elizabeth Townsend-Gard explains the unique opportunities the program offers. She addresses the importance of those working with the law every day to have a strong grasp of its ins and outs, rhetoric and applications.

Program Benefits

Powerful experiences and insights
Improve your understanding of the laws that govern the practice of human resources, your ability to communicate and collaborate with lawyers and other legal professionals, and your own workplace results and job satisfaction.

Career impact that counts
With the expertise you’ll gain through the MJ-LEL program, your job effectiveness will increase, and you’ll quickly become a highly valued contributor on the job. You’ll become more adequately self-sufficient and will prove to be a huge asset to your organization as you save money, reduce risks and improve workplace culture.

A rigorous education with the flexibility of online learning
Enjoy the flexibility of online learning so you can participate from anywhere. The only on-campus requirement for the degree is one multi-day Immersion Weekend on Tulane’s campus in New Orleans, where you’ll gain face-to-face connection and intellectual synthesis.

Practical lessons that enhance your life and career
Through your daily conversations with classmates and faculty, and through your master’s capstone experience, you’ll learn practical lessons and hone new skills that you can put to immediate use. You’ll walk away with the ability to train employees about sexual harassment, to deal effectively with unions, to engage in collective bargaining, to mediate disputes or participate in the arbitrations of labor disputes, to create personnel manuals, to lead executive searches that are EEOC-compliant, and much more.

Expert faculty who inspire
You’ll be taught by faculty members who are national and international authorities on labor and employment issues, including program director Saru Matambanadzo, a nationally known authority on gender equality and workplace equity.

Unrivaled value
Tulane is reputable, rigorous, accessible and affordable. The investment in your graduate education can reap returns that far exceed your expectations.

Connections for life
Study alongside other human resource professionals, business owners, executives and office managers with personnel responsibilities. The dynamic nature of the program will ensure that you form professional and personal connections that create a life-long network of classmates and faculty who can help support and accelerate your career.

Distinct pride
Accomplish something that very few people do—earning a graduate degree from a prestigious, nationally ranked university and a top law school.

Download A Brochure


Semester 1

Students must take both of these required courses:

Legal Analysis I (2 credits)

This foundational course introduces students to sources and functions of law in our society relating to labor and employment law. The course begins with an overview of the American legal system and sources of law and introduces students to statutory interpretation and plain language analysis. In Legal Analysis I, students will learn to read and interpret statutory law and regulations, read and brief cases, and develop basic legal writing and analysis skills. Students will also learn to find and research legal information through multiple short research assignments focusing on labor and employment law issues. Through multiple short writing assignments such as a case brief, an IRAC essay analyzing a statutory issue, and an e-memo interpreting statutory and regulatory law relating to a labor and employment law topic, students learn to apply statutes and regulations to analyze legal issues relating to labor and employment law.

Introduction to Employment Discrimination Law Principles and Strategies (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide the students with a thorough understanding of all of the legal rules and concepts created by federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination on the bases of race, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation and national origin in a very practical way. The materials will be presented in a manner dedicated to enhancing the ability of present or future human resources professionals to deal with specific problems that continually arise in the workplace. Instruction will be directed towards providing advice on how to deal with and avoid problems in areas, including racial and sexual harassment, religious accommodation, pregnancy and family leave, LGBT concerns, handling EEOC investigations, drafting personnel manuals, avoiding retaliation claims, mandatory and voluntary retirement, disability-based accommodation, and drug testing.

Semester 2

Students must take both of these required courses:

Legal Analysis II (2 credits)

This course builds on Legal Analysis I to introduce students to the relationship between enacted and administrative law and common law. The course continues instruction on legal research methods in finding and analyzing cases and common law. Students learn to read and synthesize multiple cases and learn analogical and policy-based reasoning. Through multiple short writing assignments, such as an e-memo analyzing a statutory issue with case law and a client letter, students learn to apply statutes, regulations, administrative materials and case law to analyze complex legal issues relating to labor and employment law.

Introduction to Labor Law Principles and Strategies (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide the students with a thorough understanding of the federal and state laws and regulations governing the relationship between the employer, employee and labor union. The material will be presented in a very practical way designed to focus on specific problems and issues that human resources professionals experience in dealing with organized and unorganized workforces and offer very specific and detailed instruction on the proper way to deal with these issues. The topics that will be examined include approaches toward a union-organizing campaign or a union’s request for voluntary recognition; creation of joint employer/employee advisory committees; the role of the NLRB and how to avoid and deal with unfair labor practice charges; proper and improper bases for discipline and discharge; lawful and unlawful responses to strikes, picketing and sickouts; scope and approaches towards the duty to engage in collective bargaining with a union; methods of enforcing or modifying the terms of a collective bargaining agreement; impact of state right-to-work laws; union security agreements; and the use of arbitration and/or mediation as alternative methods of resolving contractual and statutory disputes.

Semester 3

Students must take both of these required courses:

Employment Law (2 credits)

This course will provide students with an understanding of the legal underpinnings of the employer-employee relationship, including the employment-at-will doctrine, which is the default setting for the relationship. The course will discuss the limits of the employment-at-will doctrine as well as common legal claims brought in the employment context. It will also explore issues such as privacy expectations of employees and the enforceability of covenants not to compete as well as laws impacting employee compensation and leave.

IP Issues in the Employment Context (3 credits)

Intellectual property issues arise in the employment context from the moment an employee is hired, whether a full-time employee or an independent contractor. If employees create works­—websites, inventions, newsletters, etc.—within their jobs, additional issues will arise, both in terms of who owns the creations, but also what materials the employee is using to create those works. Copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, patents and right of publicity are implicated in the hiring and employing of both individuals and other companies. IP policies related to social media also are important to establish, both for the company in general and individuals within the company, which should be communicated to employees in an effective way. Finally, situations come up where employees are using equipment at work to create after-­hours creations or are creating commercially viable creations at home. Human resources, in administering hiring documents both for employees and independent contractors should be aware of the legal issues that arise, as well as the policy behind the choices.

Semester 4

Students must take this required course, plus one 2-credit elective:

Sex and Gender Issues in the Workplace (3 credits)

This course will build on the employment discrimination course by delving into the particularities of human resources law as it relates to sex discrimination. The course will combine in-depth lectures and examinations of contemporary current events in this area with practical exercises and projects designed to prepare HR professionals for the complexities that may emerge for their employers under sex discrimination law. The course will cover pregnancy discrimination and accommodations in the workplace, personal appearance policies, sexual harassment, transgender persons in the workplace, and affirmative action/diversity in hiring. Each substantive module will be accompanied by a graded project designed to prepare students to aid in employer compliance and ensure positive employee relations. Prerequisite: Introduction to Employment Discrimination Law Principles and Strategies.

Semester 5

Students must take this required course, plus one 2-credit elective:

Social Media Issues in the Workplace (3 credits)

This course will look at legal issues arising out of social media, branding and advertising in the workplace. This includes the use of social media platforms by companies, the relationship between social media and employees, fan and gripe sites, and other issues arising from the use of social media. The course will examine key issues arising in the protection of a company’s name, reputation and goodwill. This portion builds off of the introductory materials in the IP survey to think through practical and policy questions that arise within the workplace and, in particular, what HR may encounter. The course will also look at the National Labor Relations Board, social media and hiring practices. The course covers social networking as well, including email and monitoring computer and internet activities. The course looks at First Amendment issues related to social media, both by employees as well as the public. The course also looks at the issue of the right to be forgotten and the impact of this concept with regard to employees and former employees. The course explores questions of advertising, including puffery, verifiable facts, surveys, advertisements for employees, contests and other issues that arise within the workplace.

Semester 6

Students must take this required course, plus one 2-credit elective:

Capstone (3 credits)

The Capstone course is the culmination of the program, where students choose to focus on a specialty or topic of their interest. The first half of the semester is focused on writing a White Paper of publishable quality, with a helpful team standing by. The second half is turning that expertise into other forms of writing: a magazine article, blogging, and other different forms of media and writing. The goal is to transform the student into a legal professional, providing new avenues to develop one's reputation as well as the confidence to be part of the legal world. The Capstone students are also become for the semester the stewards of the Tulane Labor and Employment Law Association, a gathering place for students, alumni and HR legal professionals. For more see,

Elective Courses

Negotiating Skills (2 credits)

Negotiation is a skill. This course sharpens those skills. It focuses on such matters as negotiation styles, emphasis on interests rather than positions, and psychological biases that hinder effective negotiations. Students will be instructed on the use of the negotiation tools and asked to complete negotiation exercises and then called upon to reflect on their experience. These exercises require the students to negotiate with each other. All of the students in the classroom sessions will discuss their experiences and receive input from the instructor.

Employee Medical Leaves of Absence (2 credits)

An employee comes to you with a doctor’s note asking for time off from work. Sounds simple, right? Not really. That request could be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, your state’s workers’ compensation law, your policies, and more. In this class, you will learn how to navigate the often-overlapping legal requirements for medical leave and reinstatement issues. You will also learn how to discuss and document key decisions about the leave in a way that minimizes the risk of litigation.

Developing and Managing the Workforce: Recruitment, Retention, Termination, Retirement and Turnover (2 credits)

Human resources (HR) management can be defined as the effective use of human capital in an organization through the management of people-related activities. It involves leadership, values, workforce planning, recruitment and selection, training and compensation, and performance evaluation and management. HR also significantly influences the corporate culture and values/mission of the company.

To thrive in a competitive business environment, organizations need more than just strategic plans in place. They need the right talent to implement those plans. Those who manage human resources—not just HR departments, but all managers—have a critical task in front of them. They have to identify, recruit and retain employees who have both the skill sets and determination to effectively implement strategic objectives in their individual departments, so the business plan succeeds as a whole.

In this course, you’ll learn to align workforce management with the overall strategic goals of the business and how to navigate the opportunities and pitfalls that can arise from that challenge. You’ll also learn results-based strategies for finding, motivating and rewarding individual employees as well as successful work teams. With the skills developed through this course and through this master’s program at Tulane, you can better position yourself to manage human resources responsibilities and find employees who will positively impact your company.

Privacy in the Workplace (2 credits)

Privacy is a dynamic issue of concern in essentially every modern workplace. However, there is no comprehensive statute governing workplace privacy. Existing laws usually address (or marginally relate to) one discreet area of privacy law. Because privacy law is decentralized by nature, you must understand its general framework to properly address privacy questions that arise in the workplace. You must also be familiar with, or at least capable of referencing, a wide array of federal, state and local privacy laws.

This course will cover both the general framework of privacy law and the most notable statutes addressing workplace privacy. The course begins with an overview of the origins and legal sources of privacy law. The course then covers specific areas of workplace privacy, including medical inquiries; background and misconduct investigations; monitoring and surveillance; honesty, psychological, drug and alcohol testing; medical and personnel records; off-duty conduct; employer information; and privacy tort claims. As to each topic, you will gain an understanding of governing legal standards and best practices through reading materials, examples, and when appropriate, checklists and sample policies.

Investigating, Mediating and Arbitrating Employee Complaints (2 credits)

This course combines substantive law and practical exercises that students will discuss and work through during classroom sessions. The course will provide an overview of what the law requires when responding to employee complaints, what actions to take (or not take) and the various methods of alternative dispute resolution that may be necessary to resolve the matter. Students will apply knowledge gained from the lecture presentations and readings to analyze hypothetical situations involving employee complaints. These hypothetical scenarios will be built upon each week, giving students the opportunity to guide fictional companies all the way through the investigative process, including EEOC investigations, mediation and arbitration. Heavy emphasis will be placed on studying and understanding the arbitration process in particular.

Hear From Our Students

Online MJ-LEL students discuss the formal, specialized training they received at Tulane Law School. Hear more about how this unique curriculum improved their performance and credibility in the workplace.

Admissions Deadlines
Application Deadline
December 12th
Spring 2023 Term
Next Start
January 2nd
Spring 2023 Term
Questions? Let's Connect