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Class/Collective Action Waivers Are Still Enforceable in the Eleventh Circuit


More and more clients have been asking me whether it is wise to require employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements. My response is generally that there are advantages and disadvantages to mandatory arbitration of employment claims, and that it depends largely on what the client is trying to accomplish.  Many employers these days view the advantages of mandatory arbitration - avoiding jury trials and class and collective actions - as outweighing the disadvantages. 

Recently, however, there has been some question whether class/collective action waivers are enforceable in the employment context.  The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling earlier this year, In re D.R. Horton, Inc., which held that, at least in certain circumstances, they are not.

Judge Lazzara of the Middle District of Florida issued an important decision on Friday, compelling arbitration of collective action FLSA claims.  At issue was an arbitration agreement that clearly required arbitration of the FLSA claims, including those brought as part of a collective action.  The plaintiffs argued that the collective action waiver was unenforceable as a result of Horton. Juge Lazzara ultimately disagreed, and noted that the law in the Eleventh Circuit is clear on this point - class/collective action waivers in arbitration agreements are enforceable. 

This decision provides clarity on this subject, and is ultimately good news for Florida employers.  This has been a fast moving area of the law in recent years, but, at least for now, it is clear Florida courts will enforce properly drafted arbitration agreements containing class action waviers.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

The Florida Employer

Reporting employment and immigration law developments that affect Florida employers.

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Michael W. Casey III, Kevin E. Vance, Mark J. Beutler, and Teresa M. Maestrelli practice labor and employment law, with a particular focus on labor and employment litigation, including Title VII, ADEA, ADA, Florida Civil Rights Act, and whistleblower claims, as well as non-compete litigation, in state and federal trial and appellate courts in Florida and throughout the United States. They also represent employers before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the National Mediation Board (NMB), the U.S. Department of Labor, including the Wage and Hour Division and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and various state and local agencies, as well as in arbitrations, collective-bargaining negotiations and union representation elections. Hector A. Chichoni practices in the area of US and global immigration law. He chairs Duane Morris's Florida Immigration Practice. The editors of Chambers USA 2010 also selected Mr. Chichoni as a "Leader in the Immigration Field." He has represented a vast number of corporate and individual clients throughout his career ranging from premier US health care organizations, Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations and universities to doctors, professors, researchers and students. His international experience includes handling matters relating to export controls and global corporate compliance and business transactions. He has represented clients in a wide variety of cases before the US Immigration Court.
© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.
The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.