A former top executive at a North Carolina-based health care system has won $10 million in a legal battle over his claim that he lost his job because he is a white man.
David Duvall, a former senior vice president of marketing and communication at Novant Health, was awarded the money by a federal jury in Charlotte on Tuesday.
In his lawsuit, Duvall had alleged that he was pushed out of his job without warning or explanation in July 2018 as the company tried to diversify top leadership positions.
“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,” his attorney, S. Luke Largess, said in a statement to the Winston-Salem Journal.
“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,” he added.
The healthcare company had argued that Duvall was fired because he had poor leadership skills.
A rep for Novant Health said the company was disappointed by Tueday’s verdict.
“We are extremely disappointed with the verdict as we believe it is not supported by the evidence presented at trial, which includes our reason for Mr. Duvall’s termination,” spokeswoman, Megan Rivers, told the newspaper. “We will pursue all legal options, including appeal, over the next several weeks and months.”