Former executive who says he was fired because he is a white male awarded $10M

A former executive at a hospital who said he was fired because he is a white male was awarded $10 million by a jury in North Carolina. 

David Duvall alleged he was fired in 2019 by Novant Health, Inc. due to the company’s desire to have more diversity in its management, NBC News reported.  

He was the senior vice president of marketing and communications and said in the lawsuit his firing was “part of an intentional campaign to promote diversity in its management ranks.”

After his firing, his position was replaced by a White woman and a Black woman, according to court documents. Duvall argued he was discriminated against in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

A federal jury said in a decision Tuesday that Duvall’s race and gender were motivating factors in his firing, according to NBC News. 

“His lawsuit, however, was decidedly not a statement against diversity and inclusion programs. The jury learned that Duvall was a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion at Novant. He sat on an executive committee that supported the initiative and his team provided internal marketing support for the initiative, with exclaimed thanks from the D&I chief,” Luke Largess, Duvall’s lawyer, said in a statement to The Hill. 

“The lawsuit was only about the need to run such programs lawfully. We believe the punitive damages award was a strong message that an employer cannot just fire employees based on their race or gender to create opportunities to achieve diversity targets.  That is plainly unlawful and very harmful and that is what the jury denounced here,” he added. 

The hospital argued in the case Duvall was fired for his performance and for delegating important tasks to subordinates, not because of his race or gender. 

“We are extremely disappointed in the verdict, as we believe it is not supported by the evidence presented at trial, which includes our reason for Mr. Duvall’s termination,” a Novant Health spokesperson said in a statement to the outlet. “We will pursue all legal options, including appeal.”

This story was updated at 5:47 p.m.

Tags anti-discrimination Employment Relation Novant Health
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