Joyce Ackerbaum Cox

Partner

Orlando
T +1.407.649.4077
F +1.407.841.0168

According to peers, Joyce Ackerbaum Cox is someone who "is not rattled easily" and "is very practical in her approach." This is echoed by her clients, who say: "She is amazing: calm, matter-of-fact, responsive and straight to the point."

— Chambers USA 2016

Overview

Joyce Ackerbaum Cox is an experienced employment litigator and adviser, focusing her practice on the management side of employment law matters for clients in all industries, with a particular focus on the hospitality, restaurant, healthcare and energy sectors. With a deep understanding of her clients' businesses, she advises on the application of solutions in their day-to-day functions for maximizing positive results. Joyce defends employers involved in discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, wage and hour compliance, and disability/leave issues, including those brought as a class/collective action. Additionally, she handles matters regarding accessibility compliance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She also provides training, investigates complaints and counsels employers in all aspects of personnel matters, including the ADA/FMLA; hiring, performance and termination/layoff issues; and the development of employee handbooks and policies.

Joyce serves as co-leader of BakerHostetler’s Restrictive Covenants team, providing guidance on employee movement issues, litigating claims concerning violations of noncompete and employment agreements and misappropriation of trade secrets, and assisting in the development of strategies designed to protect competitive elements. Further, she advises on and prepares all types of employment contracts, including executive contracts. Joyce is also a member of the firm's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Select Experience

  • Successfully obtained decertification of a 177-member putative class and summary judgment on behalf of a large international contingent workforce management company and its subsidiary in a nationwide collective action for alleged off-the-clock violations of the FLSA brought by retail sales representatives.
  • Represented one of the world's leading suppliers in the field of energy technology in a case against four former employees and their new employer, a competitor, for trade secret misappropriation, tortious interference and breach of contract. Following intensive discovery, which included significant electronic discovery issues, a stipulated permanent injunction was obtained against all defendants and monetary relief was awarded to the client.
  • Successfully defended a municipality in a reverse discrimination case brought by a Caucasian firefighter challenging the municipality's affirmative action plan and the validity of certain promotions under the plan. The municipality won the case at trial, and the verdict was subsequently upheld on all counts at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Experience

  • Successfully obtained decertification of a 177-member putative class and summary judgment on behalf of a large international contingent workforce management company and its subsidiary in a nationwide collective action for alleged off-the-clock violations of the FLSA brought by retail sales representatives.
  • Represented one of the world's leading suppliers in the field of energy technology in a case against four former employees and their new employer, a competitor, for trade secret misappropriation, tortious interference and breach of contract. Following intensive discovery, which included significant electronic discovery issues, a stipulated permanent injunction was obtained against all defendants and monetary relief was awarded to the client.
  • Successfully defended a municipality in a reverse discrimination case brought by a Caucasian firefighter challenging the municipality's affirmative action plan and the validity of certain promotions under the plan. The municipality won the case at trial, and the verdict was subsequently upheld on all counts at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Represented a major financial institution in a case brought against three former employees and their new employer, a competitor, for breach of noncompete agreements, tortious interference and defamation. Obtained an extremely favorable settlement, including permanent injunctive relief against all defendants and a significant monetary payment to the financial institution.
  • Defended one of the world's leading providers of juice drinks in a 35-plaintiff race discrimination and sexual harassment case. Summary judgments or voluntary dismissals were obtained against a great majority of the plaintiffs, and the remainder of the case was resolved on very favorable terms for the company.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of a physician in charge of a hospital's medical education program who had been sued for defamation in connection with his preparation of student performance evaluations.
  • Defeated class certification in FLSA cases for multiple different pari-mutuel facilities sued for alleged violations of FLSA's tip-pooling requirements.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers USA: Labor & Employment in Florida (2006 to 2020) 
    • Band 2 (2017 to 2020), Band 3 (2009 to 2016), Band 4 (2006 to 2008)
  • The Legal 500 United States (2017 to 2020)
    • Recommended in Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense
    • Recommended in Trade secrets (litigation and non-contentious matters)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2007 to Present)
    • Florida: Employment Law – Management
    • Florida: Litigation – Labor & Employment
    • Florida: Trade Secrets Law
      • Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" (2013)
  • Florida "Super Lawyer" (2008 to 2020)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Florida Trend, Legal Elite: "Best Up-and-Coming Attorney" (2004)
  • ExpertGuides: Women in Business Law, Labor and Employment Section (2014, 2017)

Memberships

  • Federal Bar Association
  • American Bar Association: Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Florida Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association: Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Academy of Florida Management Attorneys (AFMA)
  • Florida Executive Women

Community

  • Jewish Community Center Board of Directors (2003 to 2013)

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 2019
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 2002
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1998
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, 2015
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1999
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 1996
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2000
  • Florida, 1996

Education

  • J.D., University of Miami School of Law, 1996; magna cum laude; Order of the Coif; Entertainment and Sports Law Review, "Do Shoe Contracts Threaten Universities' Tax Exempt Status?" Vol. 13, No. 1-2, 199
  • B.B.A., International Finance and Marketing/Business Law, University of Miami, 1993, with honors

Blog

In The Blogs

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Employment Law Spotlight
NLRB: Being Abusive Is Not Protected Union Activity
By Michael S. Chamberlin, Joseph S. Persoff
July 27, 2020
Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a union member cannot be disciplined for conduct such as forming or joining unions, bargaining collectively, or engaging in other activities for the purpose of collective bargaining, such as...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Second Circuit Says No California Anti-SLAPP Motions in Federal Court
By Joseph S. Persoff
July 16, 2020
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has split with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and concluded that California’s statute to avoid strategic lawsuits against public participation (anti-SLAPP) does not apply in federal court. The...
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Employment Law Spotlight
AB 2457: A Potential Helping Hand for California Employers in a Time of Need
By Shareef Farag, Carter L. Norfleet
June 3, 2020
With the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 forcing businesses to shut their doors for months, coupled with resulting furloughs and layoffs, California employers could use a helping hand. Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) has...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Wage and Hour Division Issues Two Employer-Friendly Rules
By Shareef Farag, David A. Grant
May 22, 2020
This week, the Wage and Hour Division announced the issuance of two rules interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that modernize its application and lessen the burden of overtime calculations for certain employers. First, the...
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Employment Law Spotlight
New Jersey's Expansion of Family Leave for COVID-19
By Fanny A. Ferdman
April 20, 2020
On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation (S2374) to expand the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA). The basic idea behind it is to ensure that eligible employees who need to take time off to care for a family member during the...
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