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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Martinsville Furniture Store Faces Legal Reckoning Over Alleged "Whites Only" Bathroom Policy




Written by: Sam Orlando


DANVILLE, VA - A contentious racial discrimination lawsuit filed in July 2021 against Larry & Alley, Inc. and its owner Harry A. Alley, Sr. is set for a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia on September 12-13, 2024.


Terry N. Preston, a 52-year-old black male and a former employee of Larry & Alley, Inc., alleges in the lawsuit that he experienced racial discrimination and harassment while working at the furniture store in downtown Martinsville. Specifically, Preston recounts an incident from October 30, 2020, when after using a store restroom, he was confronted by Mr. Alley. Preston alleges that Alley yelled at him, stating that the restroom was for "white people" and subsequently fired him for objecting to the comment.


The complaint further details that this was not an isolated incident. According to Preston, Alley frequently made derogatory comments about his race and used racial slurs, fostering a hostile work environment.


Initially scheduled for a jury trial in Danville this upcoming January, the trial was delayed after the defense argued that Alley was incompetent to stand trial. The plaintiff's counsel contested this claim, noting that Alley continues his daily activities such as driving, working, and residing at home without any apparent issues.


The lawsuit is grounded on violations of federal laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Preston is seeking declaratory judgments, injunctive relief, damages for emotional pain, loss of income and employment benefits, and punitive damages.


Attorney Terry N. Grimes, representing the plaintiff, has expressed hopes for a fair trial and justice for Preston.


The upcoming hearing is anticipated to draw significant attention, emphasizing the ongoing struggle against racial discrimination in the workplace.


Breaking Through News will follow the hearings and motions in this case and will bring additional updates as they become available.


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