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White Male Awarded $10 Million in Discrimination Jury Trial

David Duvall worked as a senior vice president of marketing and communications for Novant Health in North Carolina. Novant has 15 medical centers and over 1500 physicians working for it. Duvall said he was fired “without prior warning” about five years into his employment. Under Novant policies, Duvall was entitled to 30 days’ notice of his termination. However, Duvall said the company fired him and ordered him to leave the premises. Duvall claims he was performing at a high level at the time of his termination.

Duvall asserted Novant terminated him as a part of a push for diversity within the executive positions. He said Novant replaced him with a white woman and a Black woman “for the express purpose of increasing the gender and racial diversity among Novant executives.” He filed suit alleging sex and race discrimination.

A North Carolina jury concluded that Duvall’s identity as a white male was a motivating factor in Novant’s decision to terminate him. Novant failed to establish to the jury that it would have fired Duvall irrespective of Duvall’s race and/or sex. The jury awarded Novant $10 million in punitive damages. Novant expressed its disappointment in the verdict with the media and indicated it was exploring its options. Novant stated:

"Novant Health is one of 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."