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, Joyce proactively helps her clients avoid problems and provides practical solutions. She regularly defends employers involved in discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, wage and hour compliance, and disability/leave issues. She has significant experience defending those matters brought as a class or collective action and in performing complex/high-level workplace investigations.

Joyce also serves as co-leader of BakerHostetler’s Noncompete and Trade Secrets Practice team, advising on and litigating matters concerning violations of noncompete/nonsolicitation agreements and misappropriation of trade secrets. She has handled many high-profile cases around the country with results favorable to her clients. Further, she advises on and prepares employment contracts, including executive contracts.

Additionally, Joyce handles matters regarding accessibility compliance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She counsels and litigates these cases for both employers and public accommodations in general, and over the years, has handled in excess of 100 cases regarding accessibility of brick and mortar locations, as well as websites.

Joyce is a member of the firm's Diversity and Inclusion Council and Chair of the firm's Disability Affinity Group.

Select Experience

  • Successfully represented a leading healthcare management organization in a multi-year, high profile federal case involving claims and counterclaims by and against a former senior executive. The company prevailed on its claims against the executive for breach of multiple restrictive covenants, receiving both an injunction (which was upheld on appeal) and summary judgment on the merits.
  • Successfully represented a leading company in the waste management industry in a trade secrets misappropriation and tortious interference case brought against a former employee and his new employer, a direct competitor, including obtaining a permanent injunction against both defendants.
  • Successfully obtained decertification of a 177-member putative class and final 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.
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Experience

  • Successfully represented a leading healthcare management organization in a multi-year, high profile federal case involving claims and counterclaims by and against a former senior executive. The company prevailed on its claims against the executive for breach of multiple restrictive covenants, receiving both an injunction (which was upheld on appeal) and summary judgment on the merits.
  • Successfully represented a leading company in the waste management industry in a trade secrets misappropriation and tortious interference case brought against a former employee and his new employer, a direct competitor, including obtaining a permanent injunction against both defendants.
  • Successfully obtained decertification of a 177-member putative class and final 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.
  • Successfully defeated nationwide class and collective action on behalf of a fine dining restaurant chain sued under the FLSA and state law for alleged tip credit and uniform violations.
  • 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. A stipulated permanent injunction was obtained against all defendants and monetary relief was awarded to the client.
  • Obtained complete dismissals in federal court for three nationwide restaurant companies sued for not providing Braille gift cards for visually impaired customers under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • 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 following oral argument.
  • 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.
  • Handled over 100 matters for numerous restaurants, hotels, retail stores, shopping centers, banks, hospitals, theme parks, and other businesses involving claims under Title III of the ADA brought against physical (brick and mortar) locations and websites.
  • Prepared amicus briefs in the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits on behalf of dozens of industry groups addressing whether websites are subject to the ADA.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers USA: Labor & Employment in Florida (2006 to 2021) 
    • Band 2 (2017 to 2021), Band 3 (2009 to 2016), Band 4 (2006 to 2008)
  • The Legal 500 United States (2017 to 2021)
    • 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, 2022)
  • Florida "Super Lawyer" (2008 to 2021)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Lawdragon, 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers (2020)
  • 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
  • Middle District of Florida Grievance Committee (past member)

Community

  • Jewish Community Center Board of Directors (past Board member)
  • Coalition for the Homeless

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2020
  • 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
The Department of Labor's Latest Final Rule Publication Regulates Managers Who Receive Tips and Delineates Willful Violations of the FLSA
By David A. Grant, Caroline M. Landt
September 29, 2021
“Drip, drip, drip” is the best description of the Biden administration’s staggered attack on the 2020 Tip Final Rule through delays, withdrawals, amendments and notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The latest action by the Department of...
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Employment Law Spotlight
12 Quick Takeaways from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force's Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors
By Marc A. Antonetti
September 27, 2021
On Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force published its new guidance pursuant to the president’s recent executive order directing that all federal contractors’ employees be vaccinated. The detailed 14-page guidance...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Sharply Divided En Banc 5th Circuit Opines on Salary Basis Requirement for Day Rate Employees Under the FLSA
By Paul M. Knettel, Peter J. Stuhldreher
September 13, 2021
In a 12-6 split decision, the en banc 5th Circuit Thursday evening released its ruling in Hewitt v. Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc., Case No. 19-20023, addressing the issue of when an employee paid a daily rate can qualify for the...
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Employment Law Spotlight
BREAKING: OSHA's Vaccine Mandate and Unionized Employer Bargaining Obligations
By Todd A. Dawson, Christian R. White
September 10, 2021
President Biden has just announced that he is tasking OSHA with implementing a new emergency rule mandating that employers with at least 100 employees either require their workforce to be vaccinated or require unvaccinated employees to...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Eleventh Circuit Holds Websites Are Not Places of Public Accommodation and Rejects Commonly Relied Upon Nexus Standard
By Joyce Ackerbaum Cox, Erin M. Sales
April 12, 2021
In a win for businesses, on April 7, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held in Juan Carlos Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., that websites are not “places of public accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities...
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