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)
    • Florida: Employment Law – Management
    • Florida: Litigation – Labor & Employment
    • Florida: Trade Secrets Law
  • 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
New Job Protections for Medical Marijuana Users in New Jersey
August 20, 2019
Last month, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act (the Act), amending the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (NJCUMMA). The Act expands job protections for...
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Employment Law Spotlight
New Jersey and Illinois Join the Salary History Ban Train
By Marc-Joseph Gansah
August 15, 2019
On July 25, 2019, Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver signed NJ A1094 (“the Law”) banning salary history requests in New Jersey. The Law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The Law makes it unlawful for an employer to (1) screen a job applicant based...
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Employment Law Spotlight
UPDATE: New York State Expected to Vastly Overhaul Harassment/Discrimination Laws Again
By Amanda Van Hoose Garofalo
August 14, 2019
As we reported in our blog post, and our summer newsletter, in late June, the New York Legislature passed a bill that vastly changed the discrimination and harassment landscape for employers. Today, Gov. Cuomo signed that bill into law. As...
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Employment Law Spotlight
California Supreme Court reopens the door for SLAPPing retaliation and discrimination claims
By Joseph S. Persoff
August 5, 2019
The California Supreme Court has ruled that a former employee’s retaliation or discrimination claim can be dismissed at the initial stages of litigation via California’s anti-SLAPP statute. In Wilson v. CNN, decided July 22, 2019, the...
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Employment Law Spotlight
New York State Bans Race Discrimination Based on Hair Texture and Hairstyles
By Saima Z. Sheikh
August 1, 2019
We previously reported that the NYC Commission on Human Rights issued legal enforcement guidance for employers regarding racial discrimination on the basis of hair under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). Although that guidance...
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