CASE UPDATE: MSLF Seeks Class Action Status for Thousands of Air Traffic Controllers Harmed by FAA Diversity Program

Arizona State University graduate Andrew Brigida worked hard and got the right education to become an air traffic controller (ATC). He graduated from a program that briefly made him a preferred hire. But he was rejected when the federal government changed the rules. In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decided to scrap a merit-based test, and soon after started making candidates take a biographical questionnaire instead. Despite scoring a 100% on the exam used before the rule change Mr. Brigida “failed” to qualify under the new requirements. 

He is not alone. The FAA’s new rules prevented Mr. Brigida and thousands of others from achieving their career ambitions because they didn’t fit the minority group it was trying to attract with the new system. Recently, two new class representatives, Matthew Douglas-Cook and Suzanne Rebich, joined the reenergized lawsuit against the FAA. 

On Nov. 1, 2019, MSLF attorneys sought class action status for more than 2,500 people in the case of Brigida v. U.S. Department of Transportation. With class action now under consideration by the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the case’s impact is poised to expand and reaffirm that all people deserve to be treated equally under the law, regardless of race. 

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Brigida v. U.S. Department of Transportation

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Biographical Questions Forced Top ATC Candidates Out of FAA Hiring Pool

“The number of different high school sports I participated in.”
“The age at which I first started to earn money (other than an allowance).”
Strange questions to ask would-be air traffic controllers. Yet those questions and others were ones the Federal Aviation Administration asked potential air traffic controllers to answer as part of a new hiring system in 2013.

Fight Escalates Over Race-Based Hiring Program at the FAA

The job of an air traffic controller is among the most challenging and important jobs in the nation. It requires intelligence, skill, and aptitude. The critical decisions made by air traffic controllers directly impact the safety of millions of air travelers. People who do this vital job hold people’s lives in their hands.

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