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Discrimination lawsuit against Virginia firm heads to trial

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — A federal lawsuit alleging a Virginia firm subjected its black workers to a hostile work environment is headed to trial.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday that Newport News Industrial was sued more than three years ago by 37 employees alleging racial discrimination. U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen dismissed nearly all of the lawsuit’s promotion and pay discrimination allegations based on recommendations by a federal magistrate judge, Lawrence R. Leonard.

But Leonard recommended Wright Allen send to a jury the lawsuit’s hostile work environment allegations, which say the company coddled white employees while racially mocking black employees. Wright Allen has accepted most of Leonard’s recommendations.

A partner at the firm representing the lawsuit’s remaining 22 plaintiffs, Rebecca Houlding of Friedman and Houlding, says a trial date should be set soon.

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com

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