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    Construction NewsBRIEFS! 12-4-2012

    UConn Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering researchers are testing a new style of bridge column construction with an eye to developing columns capable of withstanding such events as earthquakes, explosions, and fires. While most U.S. bridge columns rely on a traditional reinforced concrete design, the researchers are studying a new column design that features concrete-filled, fiber-reinforced polymer tubes. The experimental column design could offer advantages beyond superior strength and resilience, including the fact that they can be constructed more quickly than conventional bridge columns. The research is supported by UConn’s HS-STEM Program, which is administered by the Center for Resilient Transportation Infrastructure and funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate/Office of University Programs.

    A Michigan-based automotive parts company will pay $750,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the agency announced. According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Dura Automotive Systems, Inc. tested all of its Lawrenceburg, Tenn., plant employees in May 2007 for 12 substances, including certain legally prescribed drugs, in violation of the ADA. Five of the drugs tested for were illegal controlled substances, the EEOC said, but the other seven were legal medications that were lawfully prescribed for the individuals taking them. EEOC alleged that Dura required those employees who tested positive for legally prescribed medications to disclose the medical conditions for which they were taking prescription medications, and made it a condition of employment that the employees cease taking their prescription medications, without any evidence that the medications were affecting the employees' job performances.

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