In Ohio, a party must have actual knowledge of an agreement that requires arbitration of disputes before that party can be compelled to arbitrate a dispute under the agreement. Thus, merely posting a copy of an agreement in a place of employment is insufficient, in itself, to require an employee to arbitrate disputes with the employer under that agreement. This is the holding in Jones v. Carrols, LLC d/b/a Burger King, 9th Dist. Summit C.A. No. 2738, 2015-Ohio-2250, ¶ 12, a recent ruling out of Summit County, Ohio.
The plaintiff in Jones began working at an Akron-area Burger King restaurant in 2004. Id. at ¶ 2. Two years later, Carrols—the owner of the Burger King location—implemented a Mandatory Arbitration Policy (MAP) that required employees to arbitrate nearly all employment claims. Id. Although Carrols required all new employees to sign a copy of the MAP, it did not require its then-existing employees (like Jones) to sign a copy. Id. Instead, Carrols: (1) distributed a memorandum to managers (to be disseminated to then-existing employees) stating that, by reporting to work on or after August 1, 2006, an employee agreed to the MAP; and (2) required managers to hang a poster containing the MAP in the place of employment. Id.
I recently wrote a series of episodes in what I called a Privacy Miniseries on LinkedIn in which I shared the true story of my best friend “Michelle’s” experience with her wallet being stolen and the ensuing saga that involved identity theft, fraud, and, in an interesting twist, my best friend taking an active role that lead to the arrest and confession of the thief. The following is the series “Epilogue,” which includes lessons learned and take-aways for businesses in dealing with such customer experiences.
While Michelle’s story is compelling and of personal nature, there are several take-aways for businesses to consider as well. The reality today is that information security and attempts to bypass that security are here to stay. Forward-thinking businesses accept this and will remain diligent in not only seeking opportunities to continually improve their data security position, but also using these situations as opportunities to further distinguish their businesses from that of their competitors.
Looks like it. Courts are becoming more tolerant of social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, being used to assist with the class notice process. Recently, a federal judge in New York, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, granted the request of former Gawker interns to notify potential class members, whose mailing addresses or email addresses were unknown, via social media. Mark, et al. v. Gawker Media LLC, et al., No. 1:13-cv-04347 S.D.N.Y.).
In Gawker, two former interns filed suit against the news and gossip blog under the Fair Labor Standards Act for failure to pay them during their internships. As I explained in a prior post, the FLSA was enacted to establish minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, record keeping, and child labor standards. FLSA cases are typically brought as collective actions, which means that, unlike Rule 23 class actions, employees (and former employees) must opt in. 29 U.S.C. §216(b). To notify putative members of their right to opt in, the named plaintiffs requested that the Court permit them to use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, in addition to traditional notification platforms (e.g., direct mailing and publication).
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