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The NLRB has ordered Mercedes-Benz to remedy three labor law violations in one of its plants, mostly by revising solicitation policies with regard to unions.

An administrative law judge ruled Thursday that employees at the car manufacturer's Vance, Alabama, plant was violating employees' Section 7 rights by prohibiting soliciting for any purpose in the office -- even in "mixed use" areas, reports The Tuscaloosa News. Small business owners should be wary of even "neutral" policies that might stifle union participation, and Mercedes-Benz learned that the hard way.

Here are three takeaways for business owners who may not be the size of Mercedes-Benz:

President Obama has signed an executive order barring the federal government and its contractors from discriminating against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees.

Private employers in many states can still fire employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, so this executive order gives a new layer of employment protection for some LGBT workers. The Huffington Post reports that this order does not include an exemption for religious employers.

How exactly will this executive order change employers' anti-discrimination policies?

A Yahoo! executive who's being sued over alleged sexual harassment has countersued her accuser for defamation.

Maria Zhang, Yahoo!'s Senior Director of Engineering, filed suit against Nan Shi, the woman who accused her of coercing her into multiple sexual encounters for fear of her job. Zhang claims in her countersuit that the allegations are entirely false and that Shi's only goal is "financial gain," GeekWire reports.

Could Zhang's accuser be facing more liability than the Yahoo! exec?

Layoffs are an unpleasant task for any small business, and if they can be avoided, all the better.

That may have been a discussion within Microsoft prior to its announcement that the company would be cutting 18,000 jobs. The New York Times reports the tech giant will be making the lion's share of cuts from its Nokia-acquired groups -- about 12,500 jobs. Severance pay and other layoff costs add up for any company, and Microsoft estimates it will dole out between $1.1 to $1.6 billion to cover the massive cuts.

While your business isn't as big as Microsoft, you may be able to avoid layoffs by considering these seven legal tactics:

The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission has released new guidelines for the enforcement of laws prohibiting workplace discrimination against pregnant women.

These are the first new federal guidelines on pregnancy discrimination in more than 30 years, reports The Washington Post. The document, titled "EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination Related Issues," seeks to clarify the federal rules on discrimination against pregnant workers under both the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What do employers need to know about these new guidelines?

A high-level female Yahoo! executive has been accused by an ex-employee of sexual harassment, including allegations she coerced the employee to have "oral and digital sex" with her.

Nan Shi, the employee who filed the sexual harassment suit, accuses Yahoo! Senior Director of Engineering Maria Zhang of forcing her to have sex with the promise of "a bright future at Yahoo!" According to the San Jose Mercury News, Shi claims Yahoo! eventually fired her after she reported the abuse.

What does Shi's lawsuit claim about this female Yahoo! exec?

As an employer, sometimes you're left with no choice but to fire a worker.

However, firing a worker improperly can come back to haunt you in the form of a wrongful termination lawsuit. And while you can't control a former employee's decision to pursue legal action, you can certainly make the prospect significantly less appealing by decreasing the odds of any such suit being successful.

Here are three simple tips that may keep fired employees from firing up a lawsuit against you:

As dating app Tinder is being sued by an ex-vice president for sexual harassment, the startup's alleged missteps can offer a few lessons for small business owners.

Ex-VP of marketing Whitney Wolfe claims that Tinder's executives bombarded her with sexist and insulting comments, emails, and texts, and that high-level execs at Tinder's parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp did nothing to stop it. An IAC spokesman told The New York Times that Wolfe's claims were "unfounded."

As the case proceeds, here are three lessons that business owners can glean from this Tinder sexual harassment suit:

Business owners shouldn't tolerate racial slurs or jokes in the office, but microaggressions may be sliding past their radars -- and costing their businesses.

Microaggressions are seemingly slight forms of non-physical aggression using bias or stereotypes to call attention to a person's (usually racial) differences. Writing for The Huffington Post, John Fitzgerald Gates notes that "[m]icroagressions are the negative assumptions we make about people that limit their humanity and value."

What should business owners know about microaggresions, and how can they potentially cost your business?

The holy month of Ramadan can mean certain religious obligations for Muslim employees, and employers should be educated about their legal obligations to reasonably accommodate Ramadan's observance.

What are reasonable accommodations for the month of Ramadan, which begins this weekend?

Maybe these two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cases can illuminate this issue: