A jury in North Carolina awarded $10 million to a white man who claimed he was fired by his former employer “as part of an intentional campaign to promote diversity in its management ranks,” NBC News reports.
David Duvall filed a discrimination lawsuit against Novant Health in 2019, alleging he was dismissed from his position as senior vice president of marketing and communications because of the color of his skin, violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The hospital argued in court docs that Duvall was let go over deficient performance and for delegating critical duties to subordinates.
Duvall’s position was later filled by a Black woman and white woman.
His attorney, Luke Largess, alleges Novant Health fired him shortly before his fifth anniversary in an attempt to avoid paying him a greater severance. “His lawsuit, however, was decidedly not a statement against diversity and inclusion programs,” Largess said. “The jury learned that Duvall was a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion at Novant.”
The verdict form from the jury determined that race or sex was the rationale behind Duvall’s termination.
“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 spokesperson for Novant Health said in a statement. “We will pursue all legal options, including appeal.”