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 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.
  • 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.
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Experience

  • 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.
  • 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 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, 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
NYC Earned Safe and Sick Time Amendments Effective September 30, 2020
By Fanny A. Ferdman, Saima Z. Sheikh
October 2, 2020
On September 28, 2020, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law a bill (Intro. 2032-A (Cohen)) amending the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA) to align it with the New York State Sick Leave Law (NYSSLL), which...
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Employment Law Spotlight
California Expands Family Leave to Employees of Small Employers
By Joseph S. Persoff
September 24, 2020
California passed a new law expanding family leave rights to employees working for employers with five to 50 employees. The family leave rights were previously limited to employees of employers with more than 50 employees. Under this new...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Whaddaya Call It? DOL Proposes New Independent Contractor Test
By Todd H. Lebowitz
September 23, 2020
Soda or pop? Pill bug or roly poly? What you call things depends on where you live. In 2014, the New York Times published this 25-question dialect quiz that will tell you, with startling accuracy, where you or your parents are from. The...
Read More ->
Employment Law Spotlight
Texas Announces Plan to Ease Restrictions and Allow Expanded Operations of Most Businesses Statewide
By Ashlee C. Grant
September 18, 2020
Citing a continued decline in the rate of hospitalizations throughout the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a pair of executive orders on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, aimed at easing restrictions on businesses and hospitals throughout the...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Ohio Enacts House Bill 606, ‘Good Samaritan Expansion Bill,' to Limit Employer Liability for COVID-19 Exposure
By Teddy R. Webb
September 17, 2020
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB 606 into law on Monday, Sept. 16, 2020. Known as the “Good Samaritan Expansion Bill,” the law protects employers, both private and public, from civil action lawsuits for damages stemming from COVID-19...
Read More ->