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Bernstein-headshot-horizontalAttorney Inga Bernstein received the 2020 Top Women of Law award from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. The award recognizes women lawyers who are “pioneers, educators, trailblazers and role models.” Click here to see a full list of the 2020 recipients.

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Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP is proud to announce that Attorneys Inga Bernstein, David Duncan, Elizabeth Lunt, Ruth O’Meara-Costello, Emma Quinn-Judge, Monica Shah, Rachel Stroup, and Norman Zalkind are listed in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession and rates attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. Congratulations to all!

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On August 7, 2020, Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein attorneys submitted testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development in support of a bill to assist working parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill, S. 2869, would grant job protection to parents who cannot work during the current state of emergency due to a lack of childcare. The bill would also ensure that parents who are out of work because of a lack of childcare receive unemployment benefits. The firm’s testimony highlighted the difficulty parents face in trying to continue to work while schools and daycares are closed, and the disproportionate effect the pandemic is having on women’s ability to participate in the workforce. The firm strongly urges the legislature to pass the bill and provide protections to working parents in the Commonwealth.

The firm’s testimony can be read here.

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Shah-headshotOn Wednesday, July 22, 2020, Monica Shah, a partner at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, will speak at the Boston Bar Association’s 2020 Higher Education Virtual Legal Conference. She will join a panel titled “Title IX: Hearing from Parties’ Counsel and Predicting Future Litigation.” Learn more about the event here.

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Monica Shah, a partner at Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein LLP, will be joining a panel of experts for the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 41st Annual Labor & Employment Conference scheduled for Thursday, June 18, 2020.  Attorney Shah will be presenting recent developments in state and federal employment law.  Registration for this virtual conference is open until June 16, 2020. Learn more about the event here.

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Middlesex Superior Court recently granted attorney Emma Quinn-Judge’s motion to release her client in light of the risk posed by COVID-19. Her client, who has underlying respiratory conditions that place him at high risk if he is exposed to COVID-19, was being detained pre-trial due to his alleged “dangerousness” at the Middlesex House of Corrections, where there are numerous confirmed cases of COVID-19. A superior court judge vacated the dangerousness finding and ordered her client released to his home.
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COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented number of workers seeking unemployment assistance. Our firm is working closely with Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston on their Unemployment Assistance Initiative as pro bono volunteers helping applicants with their applications.  Click here to visit their website and learn more about the program and how you can get help.
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In Parker v. EnerNOC, Inc., the Supreme Judicial Court held that employers who fire or otherwise retaliate against their employees in order to avoid paying earned commissions must pay treble damages for those lost commissions. Zalkind Law’s David Russcol, along with Audrey Richardson of Greater Boston Legal Services, submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and Fair Employment Project. The plaintiff in Parker landed a major sale for her employer, but the jury found that her employer fired her after she complained about being underpaid on her commissions (and for being subjected to sex discrimination, which was not at issue in this appeal). A large portion of her commission only became due a year later, after the customer decided not to exercise an option to cancel its contract. The SJC agreed with David’s argument that the commissions the plaintiff would have been paid if she had not been fired qualify as “lost wages” under the Massachusetts Wage Act, meaning that she could recover triple that amount. In doing so, the SJC rejected the trial judge’s interpretation that only commissions that were due and payable as of the last day of employment should be tripled – a reading of the law that would encourage employers to fire employees to deprive them of earned commissions. The SJC strongly reinforced the purpose of the Wage Act to protect employees from wage theft, and clearly stated that an employer cannot make commissions contingent on continued employment, and then rely on that contingency to deny payment to a terminated employee who has done the work to earn the commission. This decision emphasizes the broad reach of the Wage Act’s protections, as well as the substantial remedies (including treble damages and attorney’s fees) against those who violate this law.

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We are a twelve-lawyer firm located in the North End/Waterfront of Boston, with an interesting, varied, fast-paced practice in criminal defense and civil litigation (including employment, students’ rights, and other academic cases).  We seek a motivated Paralegal/Legal Assistant with a strong educational background, excellent interpersonal skills, proficiency with office software (including Word, Excel and Outlook) and solid typing skills (70+ wpm).  Interest in social media is a plus and previous office experience is desirable.  This is an entry-level position that requires a minimum two-year commitment. We are looking for a candidate to start summer 2020 or sooner.  Please email resume and cover letter to the attention of Victoria Campbell at resume@zalkindlaw.com. The position will be open until filled.

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