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It's official. In California, you may now eat, read, or even sleep while driving to work. That is, if you are riding in a self-driving car. On Tuesday, the California governor signed a law that permits and regulates the driving of autonomous cars on California roads. While some may be skeptical, Google co-founder Sergey Brin touts these cars as improving transportation safety, increasing mobility of persons with disabilities, and making commutes more productive. He expressed hopes that these cars will be on the roads in less than five years.


On the other side of the country, states are ...

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There are many state laws relating to employees rights to vote.  With the general election less than six weeks away, I thought a refresher on voting rights would be in order this week. 
In Minnesota an employee has a right to paid time off to vote.   Employees have the right to be absent from work for the time necessary to appear at the employees polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work. Generally, an employer may not dock pay, personal leave, or vacation for voting leave. An employer who refuses, abridges, or interferes with an employees right to voting leave is guilty of a misdemeanor.  I ...
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The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates employers who use background checks when the information is provided by third parties (i.e., a Consumer Reporting Agency or CRA).  Before an employer may seek to procure a background check from a CRA, applicants or employees subject to screening must be given certain information, including information about the scope of the check being performed.  The background information may not be obtained without the employer obtaining written consent from the employee or applicant. 
After a report is obtained, FCRA mandates that other procedures ...
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Having a rough week? Be thankful you aren't in the limelight, where technology is waiting to capture your every misstep. From Kate Middleton's topless photos to Mitt Romney's leaked fundraising remarks, nobody seems to be able to catch a break this week. Even Washington Redskins receiver Josh Morgan felt the Twitter-wrath of disappointed fans after his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty arguably contributed to the Redskins' 3-point loss on Sunday. But that doesn't mean these celebrities aren't fighting back. The British royal family has already mounted a privacy lawsuit against ...
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Posted in Labor & Unions
Despite an employer offer for substantial wage and other compensation increases over four years, the Chicago Teachers Union has taken its members out on strike this week, leaving some 350,000 Chicago Public Schools students wondering what to do with their time and energy. What great divide between the Union and the Schools has precipitated this strike? Primarily, it is the Chicago Public Schools proposal to initiate a new performance evaluation system for teachers, to be implemented gradually and by a joint employer-union committee. In the tradition-bound world of big ...
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Sick of hearing about the gloom and doom associated with technology? Me too. That is why this Week in Review will be decidedly more positive, focusing on recent studies about the ways technology can enhance the workplace.

First up: telecommuting. Nearly 4,000 employees -- or 66.3% -- of the US Patent Office do it. With numbers like that, there must be some serious benefits to allowing employees to work remotely. Examples reported in this article include less sick and administrative leave taken, more hours put in (on average, 66.3 more hours per year for telecommuting Patent Office ...

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Most people are aware that both federal and state statutes address discrimination. Most often, though, its developments in federal law that grab the headlines. Businesses of all kinds should be aware of the requirements of both federal and state discrimination statutes and should keep in mind that state discrimination laws can have a broader reach and pose greater risks than federal statutes. 
A recent press report helps illustrate the point. A California family alleged that American Airlines discriminated in providing transportation because of the family's son, who has Down ...
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With a tough economy, efficiency and productivity are often paramount for keeping a business afloat. While technology has certainly aided that cause, it has also provided workers with many time-consuming distractions. The productivity-stealing culprits this week: fantasy football, flirty emails, and co-worker impersonation. Check out the links below to learn more about the cost and benefits of allowing fantasy football teams in the workplace and the potentially unexpected effects of using emoticons in office emails (hint: you may find yourself a new admirer).

Another ...

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