White guy David Duvall, a former North Carolina hospital marketing executive, has several million dollars in the bank, pending appeal, thanks to a federal jury that decided his firing was a form of reverse discrimination.
The federal jury in Charlotte announced Tuesday that Duvall, who in 2018 was fired from his job at Novant Health where he served as senior vice president of marketing and communications, should be paid $10 million in punitive damages. Duvall’s claim was that he’d been fired as the Novant Health diversity and inclusion team started making itself known within the company.
After being fired in 2018, the company split Duvall’s job between two women — one white and one black. The white woman had served under him in the department while the black woman was moved into the position of Chief Marketing Officer, according to The Daily Mail.
An attorney for Duvall argued that his client was fired as part of the company’s “five year plan” to show diversity by 2020. The attorney wrote in the lawsuit that Novant had fired other white executives as part of this diversity and inclusion plan, including the Chief Legal Officer, Medical Group President, Chief Information Officer, Patient Experience Officer and President of Haymarket Medical Center.
In each of the cases, the attorney says that Novant replaced white men with a black person or a woman.
Luke Largess told the Daily Mail that his client, who now lives in Michigan, isn’t anti-diversity and inclusion, but added that firing people just to create job opportunities isn’t the right approach.
“Mr. Duvall was committed to D&I, sat on a system committee to promote it and his team created marketing materials,” the attorney stated. “The case is about the fact that you cannot fire people just to create opportunities to fill positions. It is not a case against Diversity and Inclusion.”
Novant says it will “pursue all legal options, including appeal, over the next several weeks and months.”
Duvall found employment with the Henry Ford Health System in 2019, but was fired in January 2020 after less than a year on the job. At the time, two sources told Crain’s that Henry Ford wasn’t aware that Duvall had been fired from Novant in 2018.
Crain’s further reported that Henry Ford Health System CEO Wright Lassiter III actually apologized to departments managed by Duvall for hiring him after it was learned that he had filed a reverse discrimination lawsuit in North Carolina.
It’s unclear whether Duvall will have a wrongful termination case in Michigan as well.