Labor & Employment Team Secures Arbitration Victory for CDI

Partner Tom Barton and associate Dennis Mulgrew obtained a complete victory for the firm’s client, CDI, following four years of litigation that culminated in a two-week arbitration. In May 2010, Eileen Helfand, a senior client executive, filed suit in Essex County Superior Court against CDI and her supervisor claiming age and gender discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment because she was disciplined and demoted for failing to diversify her business activities even though she was one of the company’s top revenue generating sales executives.

After the lawsuit was filed, CDI moved to compel arbitration and was successful in doing so after convincing the New Jersey appeals court to reverse the trial court’s refusal to compel arbitration.  The parties arbitrated the case before Arbitrator Jon Sands in November, 2014.  In all, more than 7,000 pages of testimony were taken that included numerous witnesses and several experts.  In a 50-page written opinion and order issued June 1, 2015, Arbitrator Sands found that CDI had successfully proven that it did not discriminate or retaliate against Ms. Helfand.  He recognized that CDI was placed in a “difficult and touchy situation” when it demoted Ms. Helfand during the course of the lawsuit and, rather than finding retaliation, accepted CDI’s defense that it actually treated Ms. Helfand more favorably due to her lawsuit.  This required the company witnesses to acknowledge that the lawsuit did play a factor in their decision-making.