Many law firms demand total commitment to work. That means they frown on time off for domestic matters. Former associate at Dechert Ariel Ayanna might have given exactly the wrong signal on all that. He was unwilling to jump through the total-commitment hoop when his wife had a baby and became mentally ill.
Instead of finding someone other than himself to care for the two, he took advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Four months after that Dechert terminated him. They had not warned him, as is standard at the firm, that his billable hours were too low.
Federal Judge Nathaniel Gorton is allowing the case to go to trial in November, reports THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL. He determined that there was enough evidence to indicate that Ayanna was fired because he took the leave.
Given that so much could come out in a trial that Dechert might not want to be made public, it's possible it could settle before that. It is interesting to note that at Abovethelaw.com, former lawyer but current journalist Elie Mystal is taking paternity leave.