Former Dispensary Employee Sues for Title VII and COVID-19 Violations

On Monday, Shamara Boines filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Michigan against JARS Holdings, LLC and Raymond Abro for an alleged discriminatory work environment and retaliatory termination.

Boines, the complaint says, is an African American woman who worked as a Compliance Officer for JARS, a cannabis dispensary. She claimed that she was subject to “offensive racist, sexist and homophobic remarks” by Raymond Abro, the Chief Operating Officer and Boines’ direct supervisor.

Abro allegedly used racial,  sexist and homophobic slurs frequently, and rejected Boines’ request to “include language barring sexual orientation discrimination in the JARS Employee Handbook.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, JARS ALLEGEDLY “was not limiting the number of customers allowed in their facilities, not requiring or even encouraging customers to socially distance, and not requiring customers to wear masks to enter.” Boines raised concerns but Abro said he would not comply with state regulations, according to the complaint.

On July 16, 2020, Abro terminated Boines, stating that they did not need a compliance officer. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and they issued a Right To Sue letter on September 28, 2021.

Boienes claimed that she was discriminated against on the basis of her race, gender, and sexuality, and was terminated for critiquing JARS about their COVID-19 policy. The plaintiff is suing on the counts of a Title VII violation of the Civil Rights Act, violation of Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, a violation of the COVID-19 Equal Rights Act, and wrongful termination. 

The plaintiff is seeking economic damages based on loss of pay and benefits, damages for injuries caused by emotional distress and suffering, punitive damages, interest,  attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiff is represented by McKnight, Canzano, Smith, Radtke & Brault, P.C.