Company furloughs 80 employees in Butler County because of coronavirus impact

A company is furloughing more 80 employees at its Butler County location next week because of “the unforeseeable COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting economic impact” to its industry and its businesses.

Cox Automotive’s facility at 4969 Muhlhauser Road in West Chester Twp. will furlough the employees “on or about May 17,” according to a letter sent from Constance Walters, assistant general counsel, employment, to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Service’s Rapid Response Unit.

“We don’t know that any of these furloughs will be permanent, but it is possible that presently unforeseeable circumstances may cause us to revise our outlook,” Walters said in the letter, received today by ODJFS.

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Furloughed employees will remain eligible for benefits and Cox Automotive has committed to paying the employee portion of medical, dental, vision, life insurance and long-term disability benefits for those employees previously enrolled in coverage.

The company anticipates the furlough may last up to 16 weeks.

“We are hopeful that the COVID-19 pandemic will improve in the very near future, that current economic conditions will change, and that we will be able to have employees return to work as soon as possible,” Walters said. “However, as we cannot predict how long the COVID-19 situation will last, its public health impact, and its effects upon our operations and business, we cannot rule out that furloughs could be longer than initially anticipated.

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Cox Automotive is an Atlanta-based business unit of Cox Enterprises, formed in 2014 to consolidate all of Cox’s global automotive businesses, including Kelley Blue Book, Xtime, and Manheim. Cox Enterprises also owns the Journal-News, Dayton Daily News and Springfield News-Sun.

Walters said Cox Automotive was unable to provide notice earlier to ODJFS because the extent of the public health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disaster/physical calamity, as well as the effects of the resulting, dramatic downturn in business, were “sudden, unforeseeable, and outside of our control.”

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