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Jury Awards $10M To White Male Executive After Diversity Firing

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Last Tuesday, a jury awarded $10 million to an executive after getting fired for being a white male. Until 2018, David Duvall was a marketing and communications executive for Novant Health. Then, the company fired him that year in order to achieve its diversity targets. 

RELATED: Tesla Ex-Worker to Get $137M For Hostile Work Environment

Jury Awards $10 Million To White Executive After Diversity Filing

Back view of an eager businessman looking away while wearing a blue suit-White Male

Duvall claimed that the reason Novant fired him was that he is a white male. His firing helped Novant get new diversity hires. In his lawsuit, Duvall said Novant fired him without warning or explanation shortly before his fifth year there.

Afterward, the company replaced him with two women, one black and one white. Duvall accused Novant of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This act prohibits race and gender discrimination in the workplace.  

In this case, the jury concluded the company violated the law. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the jury sided with Duvall. 

The jury said that Duvall proved that his race and gender were motivating factors in Novant Health’s decision to terminate him, according to the jury’s verdict form. The jury also indicated that Novant Health failed to prove that it would have dismissed Duvall regardless of his race.

‘Because He Was A White Male’

Specifically, Duvall’s attorneys presented that Novant fired him “out of the clear blue sky” because he was a white male. Removing Duvall was the way the company can stay within a five-year plan to boost diversity by 2020.

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In fact, other white male executives also got the boot. Duvall noted that Novant’s Chief Legal Officer, Medical Group President, Chief Information Officer, Patient Experience Officer, and President of Haymarket Medical Center were all replaced either by a black person or a woman within 18 months of replacing him. 

Lawyer S. Luke Largess celebrated after the jury called the verdict in favor of his client. “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. … Duvall was a strong advocate of diversity at Novant.

We believe the punitive damages award is a message that an employer cannot terminate and replace employees in order to achieve greater diversity in the workforce.”

Novant Insists Duvall’s Incompetence Led to His Firing

Meanwhile, Novant Health countered Duvall’s claims. It said that his poor leadership skills ultimately led to his termination.

The company responded to the verdict and vowed to contest the decision. “We are extremely disappointed with the verdict as we believe it is not supported by the evidence presented at trial,” the company lawyers said.

The courts ignored the true reasons for Duvall’s firing. As a result, Novant will “pursue all legal options, including appeal, over the next several weeks and months,” said spokesperson Megan Rivers. 

In addition, Rivers went on to defend the organization. “Novant Health is one of the thousands of organizations to put in place robust diversity and inclusion programs, which we believe can co-exist alongside strong non-discriminatory policies that extend to all races and genders, including white men.

It’s important for all current and future team members to know that this verdict will not change Novant Health’s steadfast commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity for all.”

Watch the NBC News video reporting that “Man awarded $10M in a reverse discrimination case, claims fired for being white:

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