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In a batch of cases that could become indescribably dangerous precedent for any business that operates on a franchise model, the National Labor Relations Board has filed 78 charges across 13 complaints against McDonald's USA, LLP, as well as its franchisees, as joint employers of allegedly aggrieved fast-food workers.

Why could the outcome of these cases be so monumental? Because the NLRB is trying to hold the big McCorporation liable for the alleged actions of arguably independent franchisees.

Just in time for the new year, the National Labor Relations Board has announced changes to its representation case procedures. That's just a fancy, lawyer-talkin' way of referring to union elections conducted by the NLRB at the union's or employer's request.

The thrust of the new rules is to streamline the election process by making it easier, faster, and by reserving collateral issues for after the election. The point is just to get the election to happen without delay.

Zillow might be better off burning down this office.

First opened in 2012 as an office for selling ads to real estate agents, Zillow's Irvine, California, office has become a hotbed for employee lawsuits. There was the sexual harassment lawsuit that we blogged about earlier this month. And this week, Geragos & Geragos, the law firm of famed attorney Mark Geragos, dropped another off another lawsuit at the clerk's office -- the sixth such lawsuit in three weeks.

Among the allegations: Sexual harassment. Unpaid overtime. Race, religion, and age discrimination. They say that where there is smoke, there is fire. Fire doesn't sound too bad right now, especially if these lawsuits end up costing more than the office brings in.

Can employees be disciplined for using a work email account to discuss or conduct union activities? A 2007 decision of the National Labor Relations Board called Register Guard said that a facially neutral email policy prohibiting all "nonjob-related solicitations" didn't violate the National Labor Relations Act.

Last week, the NLRB reversed course, declaring in Purple Communications that "the Register Guard analysis was clearly incorrect."

First, employers tried to spy on employees by making them hand over their social media account credentials. Then a bunch of states made that illegal, so that didn't work anymore.

Then, employers monitored Internet traffic. But that only meant employees chatted offline. So that didn't work anymore. What's the next big thing? Impersonating a union member!

Yesterday, the Supreme Court determined that employees at Amazon warehouses don't have to be paid for the 20 minutes or so they spend at the end of the day being screened to make sure they haven't stolen anything. The unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Thomas, with a concurring opinion by Justice Sotomayor, rested on an interpretation of the Portal-to-Portal Act of 1947.

There's your headline: Major League Teams in Tampa Employed Indentured Servants in Concession Stands.

It sounds horrible, doesn't it? It's also only one-tenth of the story. An investigation by the Tampa Bay Times unearthed a labor scandal that did indeed involve unpaid concession stand workers for the Tampa Bay Rays, Lightning, Buccaneers, and the Daytona 500.

Except the labor was contracted through third-party companies and a non-profit called New Beginnings -- a ministry and rehabilitation institution that claims to help homeless drug addicts, but instead was allegedly pocketing their paychecks.

There was the Tinder lawsuit. Executives at GitHub and Square left their companies in the wake of sexual harassment scandals.

And today's edition? Zillow, whose Irvine, California, office is described by a former employee as having an "adult frat house" culture. The employee, Rachel Kremer, filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing multiple supervisors of pervasive sexual harassment. She also claims that when she stopped playing along and rebuked her male coworkers' advances, she was fired, reports Valleywag.

"Employees abuse office computer privileges by shopping online during work hours," blares a headline from Inside Counsel. "Abuse"? That seems a little bit harsh. Employees also abuse their computer privileges by checking personal email during the work day and doing any number of other things that are technically violations, but are so minor that no one should care.

But they're going to do it anyway. A recent FindLaw survey shows that 35 percent of Americans shop online while at work. While disciplining employees for online shopping at work is one angle you could take, there are other, less Scrooge-esque ways of ensuring productivity.

As more and more businesses require -- as in, mandate -- that employees work on Thanksgiving in order to serve the throngs of customers who will show up at 6 a.m. on a holiday just to get a good deal on an X-Box, some businesses are bucking the trend. Costco, for example, won't be open on Thanksgiving, so you'll need to get your five-gallon buckets of liquid cheese somewhere else.

States, though, aren't pleased with this new trend, either. Last week, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez introduced a bill that would require employers to double the pay of employees who work on Thanksgiving and Christmas.