Firm Files Second FAA Discrimination Suit

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A law firm has filed a second class-action suit against the FAA based on the agency’s air traffic controller hiring practices in 2014. The lawsuit alleges that the biographical assessment added to the initial air traffic controller application process in late 2013 was used to “intentionally disadvantage [Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, and other] applicants based on race.” Law firm Curry, Person & Wooten is representing plaintiff Lucas Johnson and, according to the firm, potentially more than 28,000 additional applicants who took the highly controversial assessment in 2014.

The suit also claims the FAA ignored qualified applicants with significant aviation experience and that the February 2014 biographical assessment was never properly validated. “The federal employment process is supposed to be open and fair,” said lead attorney on the case Michael Pearson. “Not only were the FAA’s actions illegal and done with a cloak of secrecy, they frustrate the will of Congress and are contrary to our fundamental system of fairness and justice.”

After its addition, the biographical assessment came under fire from Congress and the requirement to complete it was eventually removed for veterans and graduates of approved ATC Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) programs. Curry, Person & Wooten’s first lawsuit related to the FAA's 2014 ATC hiring practices was filed in 2015. That suit alleges that the agency illegally eliminated between 2,500 to 3,000 ATC applications from CTI graduates without considering them after the new ATC hiring practices were instituted in 2014. As previously reported by AVweb, that lawsuit is still in progress.

Comments (4)

We do not need quota hires running our ATC system. You can either pass the tests, do the job or you can't.

Posted by: bruce postlethwait | November 1, 2018 6:51 PM    Report this comment

I recall at about the same time NORCAL TRACON hired a bunch of new controller who seemingly couldn't manage traffic to save their lives. One would request flight following with apparently little traffic on the air and be told "unable." It went this way seemingly overnight. One day it was fine and the next it was terrible. One could tell from the voices these were new controllers and some were struggling so badly I really felt for them. More than once I was just left to float off the edge of someone's airspace without a handoff. I would typically ask about this at some point before going out of radio range or just cancel service. There was a time I stopped using radar service because they struggled so much.

Then one day it all changed again. As if a fog had lifted, I no longer heard the strugglers trying to grind it out. They must have made a cut or something. Many of the old voices were back. Ultimately those of on the outside of the scope never really found out what happened, but for a while there you could tell it was a struggle for ATC.

There are some jobs where you just can't afford (forgetting whether or not this is ethical) to hire based on non-job related qualifications. I would think ATC is one of them. I don't think it's a good idea to risk an aluminum shower for some hiring optics. Besides, we never get to see who is on the other side of the radar scope anyhow.

Posted by: FILL CEE | November 4, 2018 9:11 AM    Report this comment

Results of 2014 Biographical Assessment - NOT QUALIFIED

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Associate's in Air Traffic Control - 4.0 GPA
Associate's in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System Operations - 4.0 GPA
Private Pilot
Military UAV Operator
5-point preference eligible veteran
2013 ATSAT score - 100

Posted by: Andrew Enoch | November 6, 2018 11:01 AM    Report this comment

Results of 2014 Biographical Assessment - NOT QUALIFIED

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Associate's in Air Traffic Control - 4.0 GPA
Associate's in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System Operations - 4.0 GPA
Private Pilot
Military UAV Operator
5-point preference eligible veteran
2013 ATSAT score - 100

Posted by: Andrew Enoch | November 6, 2018 11:02 AM    Report this comment

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