In 2013, Duvall was appointed senior vice president of marketing and communications for the nonprofit healthcare company, but was abruptly fired in 2018, his 2019 complaint reads.
His lawsuit accused the company of firing him in order to diversify the upper levels of management. The jury said Novant Health had failed to prove that it would have fired Duvall, regardless of his race.
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Novant Health has repeatedly denied that Duvall was fired because of his race or gender and that he was fired for reasons other than those presented in the civil jury trial.
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The company released a statement following the jury’s decision:
“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 dismissal. We will pursue all legal options, including the appeal, over the next few weeks and months.
Novant Health is one of thousands of organizations building strong diversity and inclusion programs, which we believe can coexist with strong, non-discriminatory policies that extend to all races and all backgrounds. genders, including white males. It is important that all current and future team members know that this verdict will not change Novant Health’s steadfast commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity for all.
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Duvall said in his lawsuit he was fired shortly before his fifth birthday with the company. He said he had been replaced by two women, one black and one white.
Duvall accused Novant Health of violating Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial and gender discrimination in the workplace.
“We showed the jury a strategic plan that Novant has adopted to implement the three-phase D&I initiative,” said Duvall’s attorney S. Luke Largess in a statement to affiliate WSOC-TV. “Phase 2 Objective 2 explicitly stated that Novant would improve diversity at the senior management level. There was also a board approved timeline outlining the steps from 2016 to 2018 to get there. Most of them are quite appropriate, and David was on the system committee supporting the initiative. “
“But in 2018, the timeline shows Novant using a diversity ‘lens’ to make decisions. In early 2018, Duvall’s boss, the Chief Consumer Officer, had seven white male direct reports. At the end of 2018, he had two, ”continued Largess. “It was in line with the strategic plan and the schedule. Today, he does not have direct white male reports. This diagram was part of the evidence.
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Largess claims the company has created two new positions to replace Duvall, one of which was announced on the day he was fired.
“Both women are qualified for the job… but neither was more qualified than Duvall, and there were no complaints about his performance,” he continued. “It just got kicked out of the clear blue sky, and it was perfectly in line with the strategic plan and schedule. “
“The message isn’t to give up diversity and inclusion, it’s to do it legally,” Largess said.
Novant Health says on its website that it employs more than 35,000 workers and has more than 2,300 physicians at nearly 800 sites in three states.
– With files from the Associated Press