The Tennessee Valley Authority maintained its top-of-the-line AAA bond rating from Fitch Ratings on Tuesday, but Fitch gave the federal utility a negative outlook. Fitch said the AAA rating "reflects TVA's status as a wholly owned corporation of the U.S government" and the implied backing of the federal government behind TVA's debt.
Although TVA is a self-funding agency, "Fitch believes that U.S. authorities would use extraordinary efforts to support TVA's operations," the rating service said. Fitch said TVA has some credit concerns because of its $30 billion debt cap, the potential loss next year of its biggest customer in Kentucky and further delays and expenses from new nuclear units.
Department store chain Dillard's Inc. is paying $2 million to settle charges that it illegally required workers who took sick leave to reveal confidential medical information.
The settlement, announced Tuesday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, resolves a 4-year-old class-action lawsuit that charged Dillard's with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC said thousands of current and former Dillard's employees who sought sick leave were forced to submit a doctor's note explaining not just that they were being treated, but the exact nature of their medical condition. The commission says workers who didn't feel comfortable disclosing details of their treatment were fired, even when doctors advised them not to reveal private medical information. Dillard's, which has about 300 stores across 29 states, had argued that the policy was needed to confirm medical absences were legitimate.