People: Cindy Westervelt, Senior Counsel

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Cindy Westervelt

Senior Counsel

Boston
Direct: (617) 946-4890
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Cindy Westervelt is senior counsel in the Labor and Employment Law Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP where she handles a wide range of employment litigation and counseling work.  Ms. Westervelt has spent much of her career in the retail industry and she draws upon her dual background in law and human resources when serving clients in the retail, B2B and professional services industries, among others.  Ms. Westervelt has extensive experience both in-house and in private practice in a wide range of single plaintiff and class action matters, including securing several defense jury verdicts as well as trying a nationwide collective misclassification case in front of a federal jury.

Prior to joining Seyfarth, Ms. Westervelt was Vice President, Human Resources for Staples North America.  In her role, she led both the human resources and the employee relations teams that support Staples’ retail stores, sales force, supply chain, customer service and telesales teams as well as its global corporate functions throughout the U.S. and Canada.  She worked with business leaders to drive employee engagement and productivity for a diverse workforce of over 40,000 employees while reducing legal risk and third-party intervention.

Prior to her HR role, she was the Vice President, Associate General Counsel at Staples, Inc. where she led the commercial litigation team as well as the labor and employment, technology licensing and intellectual property practice groups.  In that role, she was responsible for the overall litigation management strategy and a multi-million dollar legal budget.  She developed a risk assessment protocol for the Executive Team to proactively address industry and operational legal challenges.  Ms. Westervelt defended the Company in all employment class action litigation as well all high profile cases involving senior executives.  Both at Staples and in private practice, she regularly advised senior executives on individual employment challenges, non-competition and trade secret enforcement, and wage and hour compliance issues as well as organizational changes and reductions in force as a result of acquisitions and mergers.

Cindy Westervelt is senior counsel in the Labor and Employment Law Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP where she handles a wide range of employment litigation and counseling work.  Ms. Westervelt has spent much of her career in the retail industry and she draws upon her dual background in law and human resources when serving clients in the retail, B2B and professional services industries, among others.  Ms. Westervelt has extensive experience both in-house and in private practice in a wide range of single plaintiff and class action matters, including securing several defense jury verdicts as well as trying a nationwide collective misclassification case in front of a federal jury.

Prior to joining Seyfarth, Ms. Westervelt was Vice President, Human Resources for Staples North America.  In her role, she led both the human resources and the employee relations teams that support Staples’ retail stores, sales force, supply chain, customer service and telesales teams as well as its global corporate functions throughout the U.S. and Canada.  She worked with business leaders to drive employee engagement and productivity for a diverse workforce of over 40,000 employees while reducing legal risk and third-party intervention.

Prior to her HR role, she was the Vice President, Associate General Counsel at Staples, Inc. where she led the commercial litigation team as well as the labor and employment, technology licensing and intellectual property practice groups.  In that role, she was responsible for the overall litigation management strategy and a multi-million dollar legal budget.  She developed a risk assessment protocol for the Executive Team to proactively address industry and operational legal challenges.  Ms. Westervelt defended the Company in all employment class action litigation as well all high profile cases involving senior executives.  Both at Staples and in private practice, she regularly advised senior executives on individual employment challenges, non-competition and trade secret enforcement, and wage and hour compliance issues as well as organizational changes and reductions in force as a result of acquisitions and mergers.

Education

  • J.D., Boston University School of Law (1994)

Admissions

  • Massachusetts

Representative Engagements

  • Negotiated successful resolution for multi-national service provider in gender and pregnancy discrimination and equal pay case brought by former sales employee
  • Represented national insurance provider in disability discrimination case brought by former employee in U.S. District Court in Maine (resolved prior to jury trial commencing)
  • Day v. Staples, Inc., Appeal No. 08-1689 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit) (successful appeal of summary judgment dismissal of complex Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protection case)
  • Fuhrmann v. Staples, Inc., Case No. Yor-11-551 (Maine Supreme Judicial Court) (successful appeal from summary judgment dismissal of Maine Human Rights claim and retaliation claim)
  • Sangster, et al. v. ZeroTurnaround USA, Inc. et al., Case No. 26-2936-BLS (Suffolk Superior Court, MA)(Rule 23 class action challenging exempt classification of business development representatives)
  • Stillman v.Staples the Office Superstore East, Inc. (D.NJ 2013) (six-week jury trial of national misclassification claim for assistant managers)
  • Negotiated multi-litigation district misclassification settlement involving 13 state and federal class actions and led internal transformation of operational staffing and strategy to mitigate future risk
  • Conrad v. Sargent et al. (Del.) (strategic consultant for litigation and attendant media and board relations related to alleged stock-option backdating case involving senior executives)
  • Noonan v. Staples, Inc., Appeal No. 07-2159 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit) (successful appeal from summary judgment dismissal of complex breach of Stock Option Agreement and defamation case)
  • Jin v. Staples, Inc. (International Arbitration in Hong Kong 2011) (defended Company and pursued cross-claim in failed joint venture contract while maintaining business continuity in high stakes arbitration involving former joint venture president)
  • Chase-Borden v. Massachusetts Port Authority (Suffolk Superior Court) (successfully resolved gender discrimination and retaliation case pre-trial)
  • Marva Henry et al. v. East Boston Condominium Association (MCAD) (pro bono administrative trial securing race discrimination verdict for tenants facing racial harassment in condominium complex)
  • Sham v. Massachusetts Port Authority (Suffolk Superior Court) (defense verdict after jury trial on national origin discrimination and retaliation claim)

Presentations

  • Speaker, “Wage and Hour Law in the Bay State - Update” (2017)
  • “Life After Class of Conditional Certification,” National Wage and Hour Litigation Practice Group Meeting, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (October 18, 2017)
  • Speaker, “Millennials and the Workplace,” Northeast Supply Chain Networking Group (November 2013)
  • Panelist, “Project Management for In-House Counsel” Northeast Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (October 2013) 
  • Panelist, “Alternative Fee Arrangements and Legal Budgets”  (November 2010)

Publications