A former Butler County magistrate could have a jury decide if she was fired because she asked for the High Holy Days off.
Kimberly Edelstein filed suit against the county and a common pleas court judge for being terminated after the request to take off eight days for Jewish High Holy Days in 2016.
The suit, filed in 2017, named the county, Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens, Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser, and Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Dan Ferguson.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Litkovitz, of the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, issued a recommendation finding that claims against Ferguson and Gmoser be denied, but a jury should hear claims against Stephens.
Litkovitz recommended that Stephens’ claims for a summary judgement for violation of Edelstein’s free exercise clause of the First Amendment be denied, meaning a jury may hear evidence about the claim Edelstein was fired in part due to the time off request.
Claims against Gmoser and Ferguson accused them of speaking badly about Edelstein to an employer causing her to lose a job. Those claims were denied.
Edelstein filed a discrimination lawsuit May 5, 2017, claiming Stephens terminated her employment when she asked to take off the eight days. She is seeking more than $1 million in damages.
Edelstein was employed as an attorney and magistrate for more than eight years by Butler County, and served on the staff of Judge Patricia Oney, according to the lawsuit.
When Oney retired, Stephens took the position and hired Edelstein as his magistrate in February 2016, according to the lawsuit. They both agreed to a three-month notice if either party wanted to end the employment relationship.
U. S District Judge Michael Barrett will have to review and confirm the recommendation from Litkovitz.
The American Israelite will update this story.