A North Carolina jury has awarded $10 million in damages to a white male marketing executive who was fired because of his sex and race.
According to the Insider, which reviewed court documents in the case of David Duvall, who was appointed senior vice president of marketing and communications as Novant Health in August 2013 was fired on July 30, 2018. The complaint was filed in 2019, a year after Duvall’s dismissal.
Duvall’s complaint claims that Novant Health, which is based in Winston-Salem, hired a white woman and a black woman to replace him, adding that the change was made “for the express purpose of increasing gender and racial diversity among Novant executives.”
Duvall’s attorneys say that the move amounted to discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Following deliberation on Tuesday, the jury agreed with the argument and awarded Duvall with $10 million in damages.
“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,” the complaint read.
Luke Largess, Duvall's attorney, told NBC News that Duvall was terminated just days before his fifth anniversary, which would have entitled him to a greater severance package.
“The message is not to abandon diversity and inclusion, it's to do it legally,” Largess said.
The jury said that Duvall’s race and gender was a “motivating factor in Novant Health’s decision to terminate him,” court documents stated.
Despite the loss, Novant Health has repeatedly denied firing Duvall for diversity reasons, arguing that he was fired because of his performance.
“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,” said a Novant Health spokesperson. “We will pursue all legal options, including appeal.”