Longfield v. Financial Technology Partners

NEW YORK COUNTY
Alternative Dispute Resolution

New York Law Journal

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Justice Peter Moulton

Employee Longfield moved to partially vacate an arbitration award. Employer Financial Technology Partners (FTP) cross-moved to confirm the award entitling it to a $233,750 judgment. Longfield's "at-will" employment agreement provided it could be terminated by her or FTP at any time, with or without notice, and for any or no reason. It provided that if Longfield was terminated for cause, or resigned without an acceptable reason, she would have to pay FTP back for any minimum bonus payments received that year. Longfield was allegedly terminated for cause—insubordination for refusing a direct managerial order and abandoning her job—and FTP concluded she did not resign for an acceptable reason. Thus, FTP sought return of bonus payments made. An arbitrator found Longield resigned preemptively, was terminated for cause, and did not resign for an acceptable reason, concluding she failed to trigger the contract's acceptable reason clause. The court found the award was not totally irrational, noting the arbitrator reasonably found Longfield could not avoid the effect of her insubordination, and keep nearly $250,000 of bonus payments by preemptively resigning. Thus, Longfield's application was denied and the award confirmed.

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