Cases & Deals

Flowers Foods wins significant Second Circuit appeal regarding scope of "transportation worker" exemption to Federal Arbitration Act

Client(s) Flowers Foods, Inc.

Jones Day won a significant victory for client Flowers Foods, Inc. and its subsidiaries in a Second Circuit appeal regarding the scope of the "transportation worker" exemption to the Federal Arbitration Act, a critical area of the law for employers that has divided courts of appeals. Under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), courts are generally required to enforce arbitration agreements, but "transportation workers" engaged in interstate commerce are exempted from the FAA provision.

Independent business owners who market, sell and distribute Flowers Foods' baked goods within defined geographic areas sought to pursue wage-and-hour claims against Flowers Foods in federal court. The business owners claimed that their arbitration agreements with Flowers were unenforceable on the grounds that they qualify as "transportation workers" under the FAA. Jones Day persuaded the Second Circuit to reject those claims. The court held that plaintiffs work in the "bakery industry" rather than the "transportation industry," and therefore do not fall within the FAA exemption and must arbitrate their claims.

Bissonnette, et al. v. LePage Bakeries Park St., LLC, et al., No. 20-1681 (2d Cir.)