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Last week, we looked at a Gallup study that looked at the effects of "stay[ing] connected to the workplace outside of their normal working hours" and found that it was a "somewhat or strongly positive development," according to 79 percent of employees surveyed.

However, when the Harvard Business Review read those results in the context of an earlier Gallup report, "State of the American Workplace," HBR concluded that "workers will view their company's policy about mobile technology through the filter of their own engagement."

So that got us thinking, how can your company increase employee engagement? And, does it need a Chief Happiness Officer to effectuate that change? Let's find out.

Cisco Systems -- the company that makes all the networking equipment -- announced plans this week to lay off 6,000 employees, Fortune reports. This comes a scant month after Microsoft announced it would lay off 18,000 employees over the next year.

Companies lay off employees all the time, but mass layoffs at once carry with them both legal and PR challenges. All of these recommendations amount to something in-house counsel already know: Do your homework and plan ahead.

Here are five things to remember when your company considers mass layoffs:

The Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") recently marked its 21st anniversary, and with more than 100 million people using the benefits bestowed by the Act, your company's employees have probably taken some sort of medical leave.

Hopefully, your law department has already taken time to review your company's FMLA policies to make sure they meet proper standards. However, a recent case decided in the Third Circuit did away with traditional notions of notice.

Since it's the first case to address the issue, according to Business Insurance, we thought we'd let you know about the case, and give you some tips to make sure you adequately provide your company's employees with FMLA notice.

Please, please keep track of your employees' hours. You don't want to suffer the same fate as LinkedIn, which has agreed to pay $6 million in unpaid overtime and damages to employees in California, Illinois, Nebraska, and New York.

The settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor came as the result of LinkedIn's failure to adequately track its hourly workers' overtime and pay them for that overtime.

Until a few days ago, parent companies of franchises could disclaim responsibility for labor violations of their franchisees. But The New York Times reports the National Labor Relations Board has thrown a wrench into that comfort, finding McDonald's -- one of the largest franchise operators in the world -- jointly liable for its franchisees' violations.

The NLRB's General Counsel is allowing complaints to proceed against McDonald's as well as certain franchises that allegedly penalized workers for engaging in pro-labor activities. Some of these activities included strikes that included other fast-food franchises like Wendy's and Burger King.

While the statement consists only of a press release, it follows hot on the heels of the NLRB's decision to expand the definition of "joint employer," likely paving the way for more franchiser/franchisee cases like this one.

Fresh on the heels of settling a labor class action (assuming the objectors don't nuke the deal) regarding a Silicon Valley anti-poaching pact, Apple finds itself again on the defensive, and again, it's a labor class action.

This time, a mega-class of current and former Apple workers in California allege that the company's break policies violated California law, both by giving lunch breaks after the five-hour mark and by denying workers a second rest break for longer shifts.

Late last week, a San Diego judge certified the class, which covers nearly 21,000 current and former hourly retail and corporate Apple employees over a four-year period from December 2007 to August 2012, reports the San Jose Mercury-News. California law provides that employees must be paid the equivalent of one hour's wage for each missed break -- a huge tab considering the size of the company.

In September 2013, an employee at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama, made a claim alleging unfair labor practices. The employee asserted that the plant's management was preventing employees from talking about their labor union or soliciting for the union during work hours.

As you probably know, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) expressly allows employees to engage in union activities and prevents employers from interfering with that right. In response to the complaint against Mercedes-Benz, an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board found three violations of the FLSA.

Here's what in-house counsel need to know from this decision:

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court granted cert in a pregnancy discrimination case to determine whether the Pregnancy Discrimination Act ("PDA") requires employers who make accommodations for people with short-term disabilities to make the same accommodations for pregnant workers.

A mere two weeks later, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidelines related to pregnancy discrimination, reports The Washington Post. Let's take a closer look at the coincidental timing, the new guidelines, and what this means for your company.

Stop me if you've heard this one: tech company's Chinese supplier is caught violating labor laws.

Okay, don't actually stop me. Keep reading. That's better.

This time, it's Samsung. Shortly after announcing an "all clear" in its recent internal labor audit, at least in regards to child labor (there were plenty of other violations, of course), the company is doing a double-take after a watchdog allegedly found multiple instances of Chinese children working for a supplier using fake IDs.

Congratulations: Your closely held corporation is a person. And when it comes to religious beliefs, that fictional person, it seems, takes after its figurative parents -- its closely held owners.

What does the Supreme Court's landmark Hobby Lobby ruling mean for your company, your religious beliefs, and your requirement to provide either contraceptive coverage or insurance coverage for other services that run contrary to your beliefs?

Depending on the level of accommodation you're requesting, you may only need to fill out a form or send a letter, though for objections to anything other than contraception, you may be forced to litigate.