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Viral Cautionary Tale: The Angry Text About Employee's Maternity Leave

An attorney working for Zashin & Rich lost his job this week after his text about an associate's maternity leave went viral. The female attorney had recently returned from her maternity leave. She notified the law firm about her decision to take another job a few days later. Jon Dileno, an attorney in the firm, texted her that he had suspicions she was interviewing two months ago (when she presumably was on maternity leave). Dileno texted he had recommended that the firm fire her at that time. Dileno accused the woman of "collecting salary from the firm while sitting on [her] ass, except to find time to interview for another job." Concluding that the decision to interview and leave reflected negatively on her character, Dileno threatened to tell anyone who asked that she was a “soul-less and morally bankrupt person.”

The firm initially responded to the publicized text by attributing Dileno’s action to a single "heat of the moment" response to believing a "former colleague while on paid leave sought employment with another law firm." However, the text gained lots of attention, including angry calls and texts to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. Ultimately, the firm terminated Dileno, calling the text “inappropriate and unprofessional.” The firm apologized to the female lawyer who received it. Dileno has also publicly apologized.