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Elyria council OKs discrimination suit settlement with assistant prosecutor

  • Honey-Howard-Rothschild-2009-Primary-Election-jpg

    Honey Howard Rothschild poses for a photo in her campaign for Elyria Municipal Judge in 2009. The city recently settled a lawsuit with Rothschild that alleged discrimination and other civil rights violations.

    CHUCK HUMEL / CHRONICLE FILE

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ELYRIA — Elyria City Council voted unanimously Monday to settle a lawsuit with an assistant city prosecutor who multiple times over her 23-year career has accused her bosses of age and racial discrimination, among other alleged civil-rights violations.

Honey Howard Rothschild sued the city in July, accusing the city of racial and age discrimination. Rothschild is African-American. The vote came after a brief executive session at the end of Council’s regular meeting Monday.

Details of the settlement were not immediately available.

A part-time assistant city prosecutor since 1995, Rothschild alleged in her most recent suit that she was passed over for promotion to a full-time assistant prosecutor every time she applied over the last 23 years.

Rothschild’s lawsuit alleged that younger, less-experienced white colleagues were routinely promoted over her despite her longevity in the position and multiple requests to be promoted to full-time. Two legal interns who had yet to pass the bar exam were promoted to full-time over Rothschild after they passed the exam, she alleged.

Neither former Mayor Bill Grace nor former Law Director Terry “Pete” Shilling ever promoted Rothschild despite her requests, she alleged. She also alleged she had to write a letter fighting to retain her job in 2012 when current Law Director Scott Serazin took over and terminated her and three of the four oldest assistant prosecutors in his office.

Serazin rescinded the termination and Rothschild stayed on.

Rothschild alleged she was passed over three more times for a full-time position between 2016 and when she filed the most recent suit. She filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio after consulting with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Rothschild’s suit sought a full-time job in the city’s Law Department, reimbursement for lost wages and compensation for violations of her civil rights, according to The Chronicle-Telegram archives and federal court records.

It was at least the second time Rothschild sued the city for discrimination. She also sued in 2003, contending that Shilling and Grace passed her over for promotion in retaliation for an EEOC complaint she filed in July 2000, as well as for refusing Shilling’s alleged sexual advances.

She also accused Shilling of using misogynist language to refer to female employees and sending her pornographic material, all of which Shilling denied. The city settled the EEOC complaint for more than $25,000 but admitted no wrongdoing, according to Chronicle archives and federal court records.

Rothschild ran for Elyria Municipal Court Judge in 2009 and lost, coming in fourth out of five in a five-way Democratic primary. Her father, John Howard, was the first African-American judge in Lorain County history and once sat on the Elyria Municipal bench.

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.


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