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We live in politically-charged times, and we often don't check our opinions at the office door. And even if we do, the internet has an amazing knack for carrying them into work anyway.

From loose water cooler talk to social media posts that go viral, employees can often put their foot in their employer's mouth. So can you limit your workers' free speech? And do you have a legal obligation to accommodate it in the workplace? Here are a few helpful articles, from our archives:

While some of us would love to close up shop in the midst of a "bomb cyclone," we may not have that luxury, putting employers in the unenviable position of asking employees to work in some frigid conditions. From postmen to presidents, most of us still have to go to work in cold weather, so the question then becomes how to keep your workers safe from some of the most common winter work injuries.

Here are some tips:

The Golden State has long been one of the most worker-friendly when it comes to everything from minimum wage to paid time off. California continues to roll out employee protections in 2018, prohibiting employers from including questions regarding salary history or criminal convictions on applications, or even inquiring during job interviews.

And these are just two major changes California employers need to be aware of in the coming year. Here's what you need to know for your small business.

Harvey Weinstein might've dominated the headlines this year, but the sexual assault allegations against the disgraced Hollywood producer were just the tip of a very large iceberg. Revelations of sexual harassment came to light from coast-to-coast and from industry-to-industry.

Here are the major workplace sexual harassment and assault stories from 2017:

Facebook has more personal data on its users than almost any other website, and certainly more than any other social media site. And that data is particularly valuable to advertisers, who like the ability to target ads as closely to their chosen demographic as possible. This goes for job ads as well, as employers want to reach people who live in a certain area or tout specific credentials like degrees or job experience on their profiles.

But there's a fine line between targeted ads and discrimination, and it can all depend on the individuals you're excluding from viewing your ad. A new lawsuit claims Facebook allowed major employers to target potential employees by age, allegedly discriminating against older users, some as young as 36.

Employers Prohibited From Asking 'What's Your Salary History?'

In certain states, cities, and municipalities, new laws prohibit potential employers from asking job applicants for their salary history. These laws may also require employers to disclose their salary range if the applicant requests that information. The purpose of these new laws is to protect applicants from employment discrimination.

Employers must comply with the new laws or face liability. However, according to Bloomberg, some states have enacted the prohibition about asking for an applicant's salary history, many have delayed an applicant's ability to sue or seek punitive damages, presumably to allow employers to learn how to comply with the new legislation.

It's been a boilerplate part of every employment application for decades: "Have you been convicted of a crime?" For employers, it may have been an easy way to cull the list of job applicants, or an attempt to weed out any unsavory characters.

But there are movements afoot to remove the question from job applications, or, if not, to incentivize businesses to hire felons and ex-convicts. While small businesses may still be wary of hiring someone with a criminal record, there might be a few good reasons to do so. So here are a few legal angles to consider if you're thinking about hiring felons, from our archives:

The State of California filed a lawsuit last week claiming a janitorial company, responsible for cleaning retail stores like Ross, JoAnn's Fabrics, Burlington Coat Factory, and Toys R Us, violated state wage and tax laws.

One Source Facility Solution is accused of failing to pay workers the minimum wage, underreporting payroll taxes, and providing false payroll information to its workers' compensation insurance carrier. The lawsuit alleges One Source janitors "have not received and do not receive the state-mandated minimum wage for all of the hours they work."

Alternatives to Holiday Bonuses

The holiday bonus: a not-so-subtle stocking stuffer to show your staff you appreciate all of their contributions to the company over the past year. And while a few extra bucks on their paycheck can make for some happy employees, the battle over how much the bonus should be and on what it should be based can put a damper on the holiday spirit. Plus, cash can be boring.

So how do you avoid the ubiquity and difficulty of the standard holiday bonus? Here are three alternative gifts you and your employees may find more appealing:

Did you know that Instacart shoppers went on strike on November 19 and 20? Probably not, that is, unless you read the news about it. Despite the negative press the company has gotten over the low wages that their independent contractor shoppers earn, an Insta-Shopper strike came and went without so much as a noticeable service disruption.

This is likely due to the fact that the $3.4 billion company has some pretty deep pools of contractors. It boasts hundreds of thousands of shoppers across the country. This means that for a strike to truly be effective, it would require some serious labor organization work, as well as the agreement of at least tens of thousands of the most active contractors.

For smaller startups, being that "strike-proof" may be a pipe dream, but if you rely on a large group of independent contractors, you can learn a lesson or two from Instacart.