In a reverse discrimination lawsuit, the federal court in Charlotte has ordered that Novant Health pay the defendant a total of $3.9 million.
A federal jury had awarded $10 million in punitive damages to David Duvall, who sued Novant claiming that he was terminated from his job in part because he was a white male and Novant was seeking more diversity in its upper management. Duvall said that Novant violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits race and gender discrimination.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer reduced the $10 million awarded by the jury to $300,000 because the cap on punitive damages in such federal cases is set at $300,000.
However, Cayer awarded Duvall $2.34 million in back pay and $1.08 million in front pay damages in addition to the $300,000 in punitive damages.
Duvall was a senior vice president of marketing and communication at Novant Health for nearly five years. He was terminated a few days short of his fifth anniversary with the company and replaced by a white woman and a black woman.
In the trial, Duvall claimed that his termination was motivated by the diversity and inclusion program implemented at Novant and a stated desire by the company to have its executive workforce more closely reflect those that it serves.
Back pay covers the salary and benefits Duvall would have received from when he was terminated to the date of the judgment. Cayer also awarded $1.08 million in front pay, which covers salary and benefits going forward for one year to compensate Duvall for the period during which he is seeking employment.
Duvall was fired in July 2018 and filed the lawsuit accusing Novant of racial and gender discrimination in 2019. The $10 million in punitive damages was awarded by a federal jury in October of 2021.
Novant which is headquartered in Winston-Salem is expected to appeal the decision.