CLEVELAND — A Cleveland attorney has been dropped by his law firm following allegations he harassed a former employee when she quit her job shortly after returning from maternity leave.
A post on the social media platform LinkedIn contained a text message from a Zashin & Rich attorney, Jon Dileno, that was sent to a female associate who left her job shortly after returning from maternity leave. The post didn't name Jon Dileno, but he confirmed to Cleveland.com that it was him who sent the message.
The text accused the female associate of "collecting salary from the firm while sitting on her [butt]," and went on to say if anyone inquires about the associate, they'll hear the truth from him about "what a soul-less and morally bankrupt" person she is.
Stephen Zashin, co-managing partner for Zashin & Rich, released a statement Tuesday night stating that after "careful consideration, Jon Dileno is no longer with Zashin & Rich."
This follows an earlier statement that said, in part, that the single text message in question was sent during the "heat of the moment," and the firm is "taking corrective action and taking a purposeful look at our culture and what may need to change."
Cathleen Bolek, of Bolek Besser Glesius, said she's been representing employees in claims against their employers for most of her nearly 30-year legal career. She said the treatment of women who take maternity leave is a big area of litigation.
"I hope that this message is a turning point for women," she said. "That they feel that they do have the support in the community and they don't have to worry. That if they stand up for themselves and say that they're not going to be treated this way any more, that won't be the end of their career."
The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association expressed their support for the woman who said she received the text, releasing a statement that said in part, "We condemn bias, both conscious and unconscious, and call on our entire legal community to affirmatively do the same."
The City of Cleveland confirmed Dileno performed work for the City of Cleveland and provided Spectrum News a statement, saying in part, "The City expects that its vendors act appropriately and have policies in place that are diverse, equitable, inclusive and fair."
The city said they discussed their concerns with Zashin & Rich, and the law firm assured them they'll take "appropriate administrative action."
Dileno did not respond to our request for comment on this story.