Man Who Said He Was Fired Because He Was A White Male Is Awarded $10 Million In Damages
A white man who claims he was fired because of his sex and race has been awarded $10 million in damages.
David Duvall, from Michigan, had worked as senior vice president of marketing and communications at nonprofit health system Novant Health for just short of five years when he was abruptly fired from the company in July 2018.
In a complaint filed the following year, Duvall said Novant Health then hired a white woman and a Black woman in his place.
According to documents seen by Insider, Duvall claimed he was fired without cause ‘as part of an intentional campaign to promote diversity in its management ranks’ and ‘for the express purpose of increasing gender and racial diversity among Novant executives’, with his lawyers claiming the events amounted to discrimination against Duvall’s sex and gender.
The complaint said:
Defendant’s termination of Plaintiff on account of his race and sex directly violated this express public policy of the State of North Carolina. Thus, the termination of Plaintiff was wrongful and unlawful under state law.
Duvall’s attorney, Luke Largess, told NBC News the former executive was fired just days before his fifth anniversary at the company, when he would be entitled to greater severance.
Commenting on his client’s case, he said, ‘The message is not to abandon diversity and inclusion, it’s to do it legally.’
The accusations have been repeatedly denied by Novant Health, which has said it fired Duvall because of deficient performance and the delegation of critical duties to subordinates; not for diversity reasons.
Duvall’s claims were assessed by a North Carolina jury, and on Tuesday, October 26 he was awarded $10 million in damages. The jury determined Duvall’s ‘race (Caucasian) and/or his sex (male) was a motivating factor in Novant Health’s decision to terminate him’.
The company released a statement in response to the decision to say it is ‘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’. It continued, ‘We will pursue all legal options, including appeal.’
In a statement to the Winston-Salem Journal, per the New York Post, Largess commented, ‘We are pleased that the jury agreed that Duvall’s race and gender were unlawful factors in his termination — that he was fired to make room for more diverse leaders at Novant.’
The lawyer described Duvall as a ‘strong advocate of diversity at Novant’ and said the damages award acted as a message ‘that an employer cannot terminate and replace employees in order to achieve greater diversity in the workforce’.
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