October 23, 2020

The Federal Aviation Administration has brokered a tentative deal to end a lawsuit filed in 2005 by hundreds of older former flight service controllers who said the agency's decision to eliminate their jobs stemmed from age bias.

The two sides advised a D.C. federal court in a short case filing Thursday that they've "reached an agreement in principle that they expect will resolve, or otherwise dispose of, all claims pending before the court," and added that their legal teams are hard at work trying to finalize the negotiations.

They promised to update the court on their progress by Dec. 3. An attorney for the flight service controllers, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC partner Joseph Sellers, declined to offer any additional details on the settlement, saying in an email that all they can confirm at the moment is that the parties "have reached an agreement in principle."

A spokesperson for the FAA directed press inquiries to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is representing the agency in the lawsuit. Representatives for the DOJ did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the U.S. Department of Transportation also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit originated in 2005 after the FAA decided to outsource the entire workforce of flight service controllers to Lockheed Martin, affecting nearly 2,000 workers, the bulk of which were over 40.

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The plaintiffs are represented by Joseph M. Sellers, Shaylyn Cochran and Brian Corman of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, and Gary M. Gilbert, Linda A. Kincaid, Michal Shinnar and Shannon C. Leary of Gilbert Employment Law PC.

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