Joyce Ackerbaum Cox

Partner

Orlando
T +1.407.649.4077
F +1.407.841.0168

Joyce Ackerbaum Cox is “fabulous” and  “particularly well regarded for her expertise in noncompete and trade secret litigation."

— Chambers USA 2015

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 2018) 
    • Band 2 (2017 to 2018), Band 3 (2009 to 2016). Band 4 (2006 to 2008)
  • The Legal 500 United States (2017)
    • 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 2017)
  • 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
Reminder: NJ Sick Leave Act Becomes Effective This Month
By Amanda Van Hoose Garofalo
October 22, 2018
Reminder – Earlier this year (as we reported in this post), the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (NJPSLA) was approved. The NJPSLA mandates that employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of...
Read More ->
Employment Law Spotlight
State Court Asked to ‘Weigh In' on Whether Obesity Constitutes an Impairment Under Anti-Discrimination Law
By Jacob A. Bruner
October 16, 2018
On Sept. 17, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals certified to the Washington Supreme Court the question of whether obesity qualifies as an “impairment” and thus a “disability” under the state’s anti-discrimination law. The case...
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Employment Law Spotlight
Employers Speak Out on Proposed Changes to FLSA Overtime Rule
By Jacob A. Bruner, Nathan A. Schacht
October 10, 2018
On Sept. 14, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) conducted a fourth public listening session on proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemption. The session was one of four public listening sessions offered by...
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Employment Law Spotlight
What Is the State of Joint Employment?
By Todd H. Lebowitz
October 7, 2018
Each January, the President gives a State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress. Throughout the speech, as the President touts his agenda and vision, half the audience cheers wildly, while the other half makes frowny faces...
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Employment Law Spotlight
New York State Sexual Harassment Guidance Finalized
By Amanda Van Hoose Garofalo, Amy J. Traub
October 2, 2018
UPDATE – On Oct. 1, 2018, the state of New York released final guidance on the anti-sexual harassment measures that were passed in the 2018-2019 New York state budget. Perhaps the most important (and welcomed) change in the guidance is...
Read More ->