A former top executive at North Carolina-based Novant Health who claimed he lost his job because he's a white male got a whopping $10 million from a federal jury, the Charlotte Observer reported.
The massive award announced Tuesday followed the trial of David Duvall's claims of reverse discrimination against Novant, one of the Carolinas' largest private employers, the news outlet reported.
In his 2019 lawsuit, Duvall said he lost his job as senior vice president of marketing and communication at Novant due to efforts to diversify top leadership positions.
Duvall was the senior vice president for marketing and communiocations at Novant when "he was fired and replaced by two women, one a racial minority, during a Diversity and Inclusion initiative in 2018 that included explicit goals to remake the demographics of Novant's senior leadership," his lawyer Luke Largess said, news outlet WNCT9 reported.
A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division, sided with Duvall, stating in court records that he proved "that his race (Caucasian) and/or his sex (male) was a motivating factor in Novant Health's decision to terminate him" and that Novant Health did not prove "that it would have made the same decision to terminate David Duvall regardless of his race (Caucasian) and/or his sex (male)," the news outlet reported.
In his lawsuit, Duvall said he was fired without warning or explanation shortly before his fifth anniversary with the company, and was replaced by two women, one Black and one white.
Duvall, who worked in Mecklenburg County, accused Novant of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits race and gender discrimination in the workplace.
In a statement, Novant Health said it would appeal.
"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," the statement asserted.
"We will pursue all legal options, including appeal, over the next several weeks and months," the statement read.
"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," the statement continued.
"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."
Novant Health says on its website it employs more than 35,000 workers and has more than 2,300 physicians at nearly 800 locations in three states.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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