Early Briefing: English in the Workplace

*Virginia Sen. Ken Cuccinelli II, a Republican from Fairfax County, introduced a proposal that would let a boss fire workers who don't speak English in the workplace. That would make them ineligible for unemployment benefits.

"This is the most mean-spirited piece of legislation I have seen in my 30 years down here," Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said. See story

*The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Reagan National and Dulles International airports, awarded a contract to Verified Identity Pass of New York to operate the federal government's security program, which is known as Registered Traveler. The program lets travelers get through security faster if they pay a fee, provide personal information and let their fingerprints and eyes to be scanned at checkpoints. See story.

*The American Red Cross is trying to close a $200 million budget gap, and one of the ways it's doing that is to cut staff, mainly at its Washington headquarters. See story.

*Maryland utility regulators say the federal government allowed power companies to overcharge electricity customers by $87.5 million two years ago and demanded that the money be refunded. See story.

*The Small Business Administration defended the limits it proposed for setting aside government contracts for small businesses owned by women, saying the restrictions were necessary to help the initiative pass constitutional muster. See story. Also, see additional coverage in Sharon McLoone's Small Business Blog.

*Eagle Crest Homes of Manassas filed for Chapter7 liquidation. The home builder listed debt and assets of less than $100 million in documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Alexandria. The company did not give a reason for the filing.

*Fieldstone Mortgage of Columbia asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to pay its remaining staff members a total of $1.1 million in bonuses. The collapsed subprime lender said chief executive Michael J. Sonnenfeld, Vice President Walter P. Buczynski and Chief Information Officer John C. Camp IV would each receive $99,999. About 20 employees would divide the rest. "The remaining employees are indispensable" for the company to end its business, Fieldstone said.

*Comstock Homebuilding of Reston was notified by Nasdaq that unless its stock price rises above $1 per share by July, it risks losing its listing on Nasdaq's Global Market. The stock closed yesterday at 74 cents, down 3 cents. See press release.

*A federal judge said he may order the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight to give former Fannie Mae chief executive Franklin D. Raines 180,000 internal e-mails and documents related to an investigation into the District company's $6.3 billion earnings overstatement. OFHEO says it is not obligated to give the documents to Raines because they are part of internal deliberations.

*LandAmerica Financial Group of Glen Allen will pay $3.5 million to settle an investigation by the California Department of Insurance. The title insurer was accused of overcharging customers.

*WCI Communities, which plans to build a 22-story luxury condominium tower in Columbia, reached an agreement with creditors to help it weather the real estate downturn. The Florida company had been in violation of lending agreements because of continued losses, and it faced defaulting on its debt. WCI had said it might face bankruptcy if a new agreement was not reached. See MarketWatch report.

*Six Flags plans to cut expenses by as much as $60 million and open eight new roller coasters this year as it tries to increase sagging attendance and reduce losses. The New York firm, of which Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is chairman, also said it is in discussions to expand to the Middle East, India and East Asia. See SEC filing.

*Circuit City of Richmond named John Harlow chief operating officer. Harlow was the retail director at Deloitte Consulting and has been an executive with Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea and Toys R Us. See press release.

*AOL of Dulles named Jon Werther executive vice president to oversee the integration of five businesses it bought last year to boost online advertising revenue. Werther previously ran AOL's business-development group. See press release.

By Terri Rupar  |  January 17, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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Comments

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Gerneally I don;t back emplyers, as most are a pack of whiners who think they should get to make moeny without bearing any risks, but....someone should have the right to deny employment to not hire English speakers, and fire them. Hvaing language skills are like writing skills. You don't have to hire someone who can;t count to work as a bank teller, you shouldn't have to hire someone who does not have the linguistic skills necessary to do a job. Many employers are willing to hire people without the complete skill package and train them, but it is still encumbent upon the employee to work towards obtaining those skills. I am sorry, while it might not be nice, its a legit reason.

Posted by: TortFeezer | January 21, 2008 1:56 PM

And if you consider the typos above in my original post, you might understand an employer's point of view in this regard.

Posted by: TortFeezer | January 21, 2008 1:57 PM

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