Travis Hockaday Talks Employers' Legal Rights During Economic Downturn with TBJ

Triangle Business Journal

Employment Lawyer Travis Hockaday provided insight to Triangle Business Journal Managing Editor Dane Huffman on the many questions and concerns that businesses have due to changes in government guidelines, including the recent passing of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In the article “Here's what businesses in NC need to know about legal rights amid downturn,” Travis stated that his clients want to fully understand what the new federal Families First Act really means and if they can furlough or temporarily layoff employees. 

One example Travis raises is benefit plan implications: “Clients are wondering whether a furlough or a temporary layoff or some sort of a reduction in hours could affect employee eligibility for the benefit plan. And the answer is it depends on the terms of the plan – plans are different,” he noted. “Companies need to understand what the terms of their plans are and what their plans have to say about eligibility in these circumstances and whether the loss of eligibility will trigger eligibility for COBRA.” 

Travis also noted that larger companies need to be mindful of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN Act”) passed in 1988.

“A lot of employers are asking us if they have to have a reduction and the WARN Act applies, will one of the exceptions apply – and that is the ‘unforeseeable business circumstances’ exception,” Travis said. The article also mentioned that Travis’ view is the longer a company waits, the less likely it is to get relief under the “unforeseeable” exception.

TBJ subscribers can read the full article here.

The Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) is the leading source of business news and events covering all industries in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the surrounding areas. The Business Journals report on local and national issues that impact businesses and are a division of the American City Business Journals (ACBJ), the largest publisher of metropolitan business newsweeklies in the United States.


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