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 a co-chair of the firm's national Noncompete and Trade Secrets 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 2019) 
    • Band 2 (2017 to 2019), Band 3 (2009 to 2016), Band 4 (2006 to 2008)
  • The Legal 500 United States (2017 to 2019)
    • 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)
    • Orlando: Employment Law – Management
    • Orlando: Litigation – Labor & Employment
      • Best Lawyers® 2013 "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Florida "Super Lawyer" (2008 to 2019)
  • 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. Supreme Court, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 2010
  • 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
  • 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
Texas Legislature and Courts Clash With Cities Over Mandatory Sick Leave: What Employers Need to Know
June 24, 2019
Dallas has become the third city in Texas, following Austin and San Antonio, to pass a city ordinance requiring private-sector employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees. The ordinances have yet to be implemented in any of these...
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Employment Law Spotlight
New York State Expected to Vastly Overhaul Harassment/Discrimination Laws Again
By Amanda Van Hoose Garofalo
June 21, 2019
Late on June 19, New York lawmakers passed a bill that makes wide-sweeping changes to New York State discrimination and harassment law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has indicated that he will sign the bill, but he has not done so at this point. The...
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Employment Law Spotlight
High Times for Employees in Nevada: New Restrictions on Preemployment Drug-Screening of Applicants Who Test Positive for Marijuana
June 18, 2019
Beginning in 2020, Nevada employers can no longer refuse to hire a job applicant for failing a preemployment marijuana screening test. The law, known as “AB132,” became effective on June 5 and is the first of its kind among the states...
Read More ->
Employment Law Spotlight
Connecticut Passes Generous Paid Family and Medical Leave Law
By Saima Z. Sheikh
June 16, 2019
Joining a steadily growing national trend, the Connecticut Legislature recently passed a generous paid family and medical leave bill, which will make Connecticut the seventh state — in addition to California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Colorado Shores Up Employee Protections for Criminal History Inquiries, Wage Theft and Pay Equity During Busy 2019 Legislative Session
By Nathan A. Schacht
June 14, 2019
Colorado’s 2019 legislative session was busy, including producing a trio of new employment laws that tighten regulations on employers in the areas of pay equity, criminal history inquiries and wage theft. Employers face comprehensive...
Read More ->