Can you be held personally liable in an employment lawsuit?

Case law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), generally holds individuals cannot be found liable.

Unfortunately, the clear language in case law supporting the dismissal of individuals has not prevented plaintiffs from bringing claims under these statutes. For example, a federal court judge in Oregon recently outlined this costly and questionable practice in his opinion in a case involving Starbucks, stating:

New method to determine how safe buildings are after an earthquake

Deciding when it's safe for a building's residents to move back in after an earthquake is a major challenge and responsibility for civil engineers. Not only do they have to evaluate whether the building could collapse, but also whether it could withstand aftershocks of the same magnitude. The good news is, some promising research is being carried out in this field.

Scientists at EPFL's Applied Computing and Mechanics Laboratory (IMAC) have come up with a new method that can increase the accuracy of these types of assessments. It is based on taking measurements of a building's ambient vibrations, and can be used to enhance existing methods and speed the process for determining which structures are too fragile to live in. The study – by Yves Reuland (lead author), Pierino Lestuzzi and Ian F.C. Smith – appears in the January issue of Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering.

FEMA Opens Disaster Recovery Center in Paradise, Calif., Offering Services to Camp Fire Victims

(TNS)— With deadlines approaching for Camp Fire victims to get assistance, FEMA has opened a new disaster recovery center in Paradise to connect residents with emergency services.

The second phase of debris removal has begun, said Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Jovanna Garcia, and Paradise is beginning to fill with people again. Some businesses have reopened, some people whose houses survived the fire have moved back in, and people are coming through every day to return to their properties.

California Utility Equipment Sparked More Than 2,000 Fires in Over Three Years

(TNS) — Equipment owned by California's three largest utilities ignited more than 2,000 fires in three years — a timespan in which state regulators cited and fined the companies nine times for electrical safety violations.

How the state regulates utilities is under growing scrutiny following unprecedented wildfires suspected to have been caused by power line issues, blazes that have destroyed thousands of homes and killed dozens of people.

When it comes to cybersecurity, states are the weak link

Every year, we receive the same news: Cyber threats against the United States are on the rise. This year, though, we have some good news: Federal government officials are finally taking these threats seriously. These officials are committed to developing a cyber strategy and working hard to shore up the nation’s virtual defenses. Congress is exploring ways to reorganize its own technology research capabilities. The military is figuring out how to put Silicon Valley to use.

Governments at the state level, however, are lagging.

Cybersecurity suffers from the weak-link problem: Weaknesses in one area can put entire systems at risk. With cyberattacks affecting state and local governments every day, the United States cannot afford to let state-level cybersecurity go unaddressed.

Speeding Kills, and Safety Group Says States Should Take It More Seriously

Americans don’t take the dangers of speeding seriously enough, safety advocates say, so it’s time for states and localities to get tougher on fast drivers. That could mean lowering speed limits, installing more speed cameras and creating a social stigma for speeding drivers akin to that of drunk drivers.

Those are some of the conclusions of a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a group of state traffic safety officials. The report reads like a call-to-arms for officials to pay attention to a long-overlooked danger that leads to thousands of road deaths each year.

What the Camp Fire Revealed

Natural disasters are equalizing forces. Fires torch the homes of the rich and the poor alike. Hurricanes destroy cruise ships as well as decade-old cars. Earthquakes level cities, affecting everyone within. But natural disasters are also polarizing forces. Income and wealth shape who gets hit; how much individuals, insurers, nonprofits, and governments are willing and able to help; and who recovers, as well as to what extent.

‘It’s Making Us Less Prepared’: Shutdown Slows Planning for Hurricanes and Other Disasters

For experts who make a living forecasting hurricanes, storm season is a year-round worry. When the tropics are calm, as they are now, researchers dive into data, analyze results, improve scientific models and train state and local officials on the latest technology that can help them make lifesaving decisions.

But the partial government shutdown — the longest in United States history — has brought much of that fieldwork and instruction to a halt. Most researchers have been furloughed, and training academies and courses have been canceled, with no makeup dates in sight.

Critical University of California, Davis, Alert System Failed During Officer Shooting, Officials Say

(TNS) — A critical emergency alert system designed to warn UC Davis students and staff failed to fully notify the campus until more than an hour after Davis police Officer Natalie Corona was shot and killed blocks from the university, officials announced, calling the breakdown “unacceptable.”

The WarnMe-Aggie Alert sends text and email messages to UC Davis students and staff and is designed to alert 70,000 people. But the system initially notified only a fraction of those people about the events unfolding less than a mile from the campus and locked campus public safety officials out of some notification lists.

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