Attorney Melissa Ramos recently won an appeal at the Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) representing a client who had been terminated from her job due to the client’s alleged possession of a bottle of hemp-based CBD (cannabidiol) oil at work, which the employer claimed violated their drug-free workplace policy. At the DUA hearing, Attorney Ramos presented evidence that the substance in the client’s possession was not illegal because it was hemp-based. Under the most recent iteration of the Farm Bill, enacted in December 2018, hemp is no longer considered a controlled substance. A lab report provided by the company who manufactured the CBD oil showed that it was derived from hemp and contained no detectable amount of THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis, possession of which remains illegal under federal law notwithstanding its decriminalization under Massachusetts law). Attorney Ramos also presented evidence that the CBD oil could not have been covered by the employer’s drug policy because it was not a prohibited, illegal substance. The appeal hearing officer overturned the initial DUA denial and granted the client unemployment benefits dating back to the date of termination. This case demonstrates how the evolving law around CBD, and marijuana generally, continues to present novel situations for clients and that even when unemployment benefits are initially denied, appeals can be very successful with the right evidence.
In a case where the defendant was charged with operating under the influence and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, Rachel Stroup and Melissa Ramos secured an acquittal on both charges after the jury returned verdicts of not guilty in Natick District Court.
On March 25, 2019, Monica Shah presented a session on criminal law and students’ rights at the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston’s award-winning “Know Your Rights!” program at the Waltham Public Library. Through this program, SABA GB empowers South Asian community leaders in Massachusetts on topics ranging from criminal law to employment law, bankruptcy, consumer protection, immigration, and elder care. Learn more about SABA GB and the KYR program here: https://www.sabagb.org/know-your-rights
Melissa Ramos, an associate at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, speaks tonight on a panel hosted by Suffolk Law School’s Women of Color Law Students Association. The panel, titled “Shaping Your Personal Brand,” offers advice to law students on how to develop and promote their professional identities and their work.
Monica Shah, a partner at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, will be joining the faculty as Chair of the MCLE webcast and on-site program, “Preventing & Handling Sexual Harassment Claims in the #MeToo Era” scheduled for March 19, 2019. The program will focus on providing guidance for attorneys handling sexual harassment cases from initial intake or investigation to verdict or settlement, whether at the MCAD or in court. Attorney Shah has extensive experience working on sexual harassment cases. Read more or register for the program here.
Attorneys Emma Quinn-Judge and David Russcol secured a favorable jury verdict for their client in a complex negligence case.
Today, Emma Quinn-Judge, David Russcol, Ana Munoz, and Harvey Silverglate filed a lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court challenging Harvard’s policy that punishes students who join single-sex organizations. As the complaint in the case notes “As a result of this policy, almost every single-sex organization available to undergraduate women at Harvard closed its doors, or reorganized as a co-ed social organization. Most male single-sex organizations, by contrast, remain open, providing men with relationships, opportunities, and experiences to which Harvard undergraduate women now have limited access.” Harvard’s policy, which bars members of single-sex social organizations from holding leadership positions on campus, varsity team athletic captaincies, and prohibits them from receiving College endorsement for prestigious fellowships, “violates the fundamental rights of Harvard women and men to associate freely with their peers and to live free of sex discrimination, rights guaranteed by articles 1 and 19 of the Declaration of Rights of the Massachusetts Constitution, as amended, as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
Information about the firm’s suit, and a parallel federal lawsuit also filed today, can be found at www.standuptoharvard.org.
Read more on today’s lawsuits:
Zalkind Law wants to congratulate attorney Melissa Ramos, who was sworn in to the Massachusetts Bar today. Melissa joined the firm in fall 2018 and works on our criminal defense, employment law, and students’ rights cases.