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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.

Thanks to the internet and those blessed meme things, many employees live by the meme-philosophy: Boss makes a dollar, I make a dime, that’s why I poop on company time. However, under the law, employers are legally allowed to restrict bathroom breaks, at least, within reason.

Generally, reasonable restrictions will not prohibit employees from using the restroom when the need arises. However, in production, or client facing industries, employers may require an employee to wait for a co-worker to relieve their position before taking a bathroom break. Additionally, if an employee has a medical condition that necessitates frequent bathroom breaks, employers may need to be flexible as frequent bathroom breaks is an easily achievable reasonable accommodation in nearly all situations.

When an employer or boss has a ‘favorite,’ it can create real tension in the workplace. The term itself is highly subjective, and even somewhat offensively whimsical. Even if it is based on objective performance criterion, declaring a favorite rather than a top performer is demoralizing and cheapens employees’ performances and accomplishments.

Unfortunately for workers, workplaces can be downright awful. But that’s just one of the facts of life. To make matters worse, unless you’re being sexually harassed, discriminated against, or physically attacked, there sometimes can be very little a person can do without risking job security. Even where legal protections exist, there’s still no real job security, as retaliation happens with alarming frequency. Suing isn’t really a solution, but rather a remedy, which frequently isn’t going to be available.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Because it was enacted in 1964, many have wondered whether gay and lesbian workers were also protected under the law.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals answered that question this week, ruling that Title VII protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The court reasoned that the statute's ban on sex discrimination also prohibited sexual orientation discrimination because, among other reasons, the discrimination is based on outdated gender stereotypes. Here's a look: