Executive Wins $10 Million Lawsuit Claiming He Was Fired Because He Was A White Man

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Novant Health in North Carolina

David Duvall of Michigan, the former senior vice president of marketing and communications at Novant Health, was awarded $10 million in damages from a federal judge in North Carolina after  claiming he was fired because of his race and sex, according to court documents. 

Duvall sued Novant Health, Inc. after being fired in 2019 claiming his termination was a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

David Duvall claimed he was fired because he is a white man.

Duvall believed his job was terminated without cause "as part of an intentional campaign to promote diversity in its management ranks" and strongly believed he was fired because, as a white man, he didn't fit this new, diverse model.

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According to court records, Duvall said his employer was trying to diversify Novant Health, which oversees 15 hospitals and hundreds of outpatient centers and clinics. 

He was replaced by a Black woman and a white woman, which was "a direct result" of Novant Health's 2015 commitment to address health inequities and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

However, according to documents, Duvall said that commitment “had turned into avowed, even boastful, ‘strategic imperative’ to rely on racial and gender targets to reshape Novant Health’s workforce and leadership to reflect the community it served.”

Duvall and others were fired without warning and replaced by women or members of minority groups, his court documents said.

On the opposition, Novant Health Inc. argued that Duvall was fired not because of his race and sex but because his superiors “had very little confidence” in him as a leader and he allegedly had deficient performance and the delegation of critical duties to subordinates.

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Duvall won his reverse discrimination case.

Two years later, the federal jury in North Carolina finally agreed on a verdict and claimed found that race and sex actually were motivating factors in Duvall's termination.

According to the judge, Novant Health had failed to try to prove Duvall was terminated for any other reason. 

The jury who decided on the verdict included six women and two men. The six were white and then there was one Hispanic person and one Black forewoman.

The $10 million award will likely be reduced by the trial judge over the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that caps punitive damages at $300,000 for employers with more than 500 employees. However, Duvall’s lawyer, S. Luke Largess said that rule does not apply to his client. 

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According to Duvall's lawyer, he has a discrimination claim under North Carolina law in which the $300,000 cap does not apply, and there will be a hearing in 30 days that decides what amount Duvall will receive.  

Duvall was hired in 2013 and was fired on July 30th, 2018 which according to his lawyer was just days before his fifth work anniversary at the company, where he was allegedly entitled to greater severance.

A Novant Health spokesperson said that the health company is extremely disappointed in the verdict and said in a statement, "we will pursue all legal options, including appeal."

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Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers news & entertainment, love & relationships, and internet culture. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.