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'Every woman dreads getting period symptoms when they're not expecting them,' said Alisha Coleman, 'but I never thought I could be fired for it.' It's not a legal question often asked, but Coleman should know better than most. She was fired from a 911 call center in Georgia, allegedly after experiencing heavy menstrual symptoms related to the onset of menopause while at work.

With help from the American Civil Liberties Union, she is now suing her former employer, the Bobby Dodd Institute, for gender discrimination. "I don't want any woman to have to go through what I did," Coleman stated.

The majority of employment arrangements are at-will, meaning either the employer or employee can end the employment for whatever reason or no reason at all. But there are some reasons an employer can't use to fire you. For instance, you can't be fired for reporting workplace safety or wage and hour violations. You also can't be fired solely based upon your race, national origin, gender, or religion.

But what about your religious wear? We know that many employers have dress codes -- does that mean they can force you to remove a religious garment like a hijab, temple garment, or yarmulke?

You've probably seen it on a restaurant receipt if you've dined out in a large group: an automatic gratuity charge. Normally reserved for parties of eight or ten or more, the mandatory gratuity (or "forced tipping" for the less generous) is generally around 18 percent of the total bill and has become a staple in the restaurant industry.

And, according to a recent USA Today account, it's becoming more prevalent on cruise ships as well. But are automatic gratuity charges legal? And are those tips really going to crew members, "in recognition of their service?"

Although science tells us that hugging and the human touch are essential for proper human development, in the workplace, supervisors, managers, and even co-workers that give hugs are playing with fire. This is due to the fact that employees may be too timid, or even just afraid, of telling a superior that a hug, or other form of touching, like a pat on the back, is unwanted.

Whether a hug will constitute sexual harassment really depends on the circumstances. Both perspectives, of the hug giver and receiver, matter, but the receiver's view is much more important. If a person is hugged despite objecting, then it will be considered an unwanted touching to which individuals do not have to submit. Also, when a hug goes on for longer than a second or two, or includes rubbing or patting, it will be much more likely to be considered sexual harassment regardless of a hug giver's intent.

Summer is officially upon us. And if your teen hasn't gone out and gotten a summer job yet, what are they waiting for? Time is running out to get them off the couch and out into the real world, where they can learn valuable life lessons of punctuality, diligence, and hard work, and maybe make their own spending money for a few months.

And while teenagers will be, for the most part, treated like adults in the workplace, there are a few legal ins and outs of hiring teenagers, being a working teen, and seasonal employment. Here's a look:

Being fired from a job can be rather upsetting. When a termination is based upon a person's weight or size, it could very well be discriminatory.

Weight discrimination, under federal law, will sometimes fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, there are a handful of state laws that also provide other civil rights protections. Additionally, weight discrimination can actually be evidence of other forms of discrimination, such as gender discrimination, which is protected in every state and federally.

When a person reaches a certain age, to nearly everyone's surprise on their birthday, nothing actually happens. Despite the common misconceptions regarding the differences between younger and older workers, a person's abilities to perform a job are rarely, if ever, associated with their age. If you need proof, just look at TV and film where actors pushing 30 pull off roles as high school students.

Age discrimination in employment was made illegal in 1967 under federal law. The federal law protects workers over the age of 40 from both intentional and disparate impact discrimination. Additional state laws may provide further, or similar, protections to even younger workers. This means that employers can be held liable when they don't hire an older worker because they are "over qualified" or have "too much experience," which if you don't know is code for "too old." How is "too much" experience, or "over qualification" a real problem?

Below you'll find five common signs of age discrimination in the workplace.

Most of us don't want special treatment in the office. We just want to the opportunity to do great work, preferably in a field we enjoy, and be fairly compensated for our labor. But fairness comes in a lot of forms outside of our salary, and there are numerous ways we can be treated unfairly at work.

But is that treatment necessarily illegal? And are there legal remedies for unfair treatment at work? Here are ten of the biggest questions regarding workplace fairness, from our archives:

While most people tend to think of discrimination in terms of race, gender, disability, ethnicity, and age, another category exists that many people are unaware of entirely: genetic information. Not only do civil rights laws protect against discrimination on the basis of a person's genetic information, there are strong prohibitions against employers even conducting genetic testing on their employees.

A person's genetic information can include information that may not necessarily reflect a disability, but rather a personal trait, medical information, or other characteristics. When an employment action is taken that is based upon a person's genetic information, like a decision based upon race, it will be considered impermissible. The EEOC advises that, under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), employment decisions based on genetic information are never permissible because genetic information is 'not relevant to an individual's current ability to work.'

Fortunately for workers, the law protects individuals who refuse to commit illegal actions for their employer. However, despite the law, from time to time, employers may pressure or force employees to break the law.

For employees, it can be difficult to say no to their boss, and this can be extremely uncomfortable if your boss is asking you to do something illegal. Unfortunately, legal protections mean very little when a person has been fired and must face the immediate financial hardship and the associated stresses. Below are a few tips on what to do if you've been fired for opposing unlawful conduct or illegal activity.