Posted on October 27, 2021

White Male Marketing VP at North Carolina Hospital Wins $10million ‘Reverse Discrimination’ Payout

Jennifer Smith, Daily Mail, October 27, 2021

A white male marketing vice president from a North Carolina has been awarded a $10million ‘reverse discrimination’ payout from the hospital which fired him and replaced him with two women, one of whom is black.

David Duvall sued Novant Health in North Carolina, where he’d worked for five years as the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, and was lauded by colleagues and supervisors, in 2018.

He says he was inexplicably terminated just days before reaching his five year work anniversary, a milestone that would have awarded him a higher severance payout than what he was given.

He was replaced by two women – Kate Everett, a white woman who had worked with him and was promoted to take the role of Chief PR and Communications Officer and Vicky Free, a black woman who was given the role of Chief Marketing Officer.

Duvall, in his complaint, said that while both women were qualified for the job, they were no more qualified than he was.

His attorneys proposed that he was fired ‘out of the clear blue sky’ because he was a white man, and that the move was in keeping with the hospital’s ‘five year plan’ to boost diversity by 2020.

They said he wasn’t the only white executive fired; in his complaint, he says the Chief Legal Officer, Medical Group President, Chief Information Officer, Patient Experience Officer and President of Haymarket Medical Center were all replaced either by a black person or a woman in the 12-18 months after him.

The jury agreed with him and on Tuesday, awarded him $10million in a reverse discrimination payout.

Duvall had worked for Novant since 2013.

In his complaint, he told how he regularly received rave reviews from his superiors, and how his team was always rated highly for their performance too.

In 2018, he said he was unceremoniously fired.

‘Without prior warning, and without any explanation as to why that promised “normal circumstances” did not apply, Novant terminated [him] on July 30, 2018 and ordered him off the premises immediately, five days before his fifth work anniversary.

‘Jesse Cureton notified Plaintiff of this decision and offered no explanation for it, stating the decision had nothing to do with [his] performance, that [he] had done everything asked of him and more,’ the lawsuit reads.

Novant denied the allegations and said he was fired for other reasons that were presented at the civil jury trial.

In its original response to the lawsuit in 2019, Novant health said he was fired ‘due to his deficient performance, including his inability to communicate effectively before a group and the delegation of the critical duties of his position to his subordinates.’

Novant says Everett was already doing much of Duvall’s job because he pawned it off to her, and that it was natural for her to be promoted.

It also denied his allegation that other men were fired for being white males, but didn’t go into detail about why they were replaced.

The jury sided with Duvall on Tuesday, awarding him the huge payout.

The hospital, in a statement, told ‘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. We will pursue all legal options, including appeal, over the next several weeks and months.

‘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.

‘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.’

Luke Largess, Duvall’s attorney, told that he is not opposed to Diversity and Inclusion, and even sat on a committee at the hospital to promote it. He says the facts of the case speak for themselves.

‘ Mr. Duvall was committed to D&I, sat on a system committee to promote it and his team created marketing materials.

‘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.’