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US settling age-discrimination case by former FAA workers for $44M

US settling age-discrimination case by former FAA workers for $44M
© Greg Nash

The U.S. government has reached a nearly $44 million settlement in a 16-year-old age-discrimination lawsuit from hundreds of former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) workers who claimed they did not receive their federal pensions after their jobs were outsourced. 

As part of the agreement, the federal government committed to paying $43.8 million for 25 individuals to qualify for an air traffic controller’s retirement, while more than 700 other workers will receive enough money to compensate for retirement benefits from 2016 to 2020, according to The Associated Press

The former employees' lawyers had argued that the jobs were outsourced to Lockheed as part of a 2005 contract because several of the employees were older than 40 and would soon be eligible for retirement with full employment benefits, the AP noted. 

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While about 100 of the employees were allowed to stay at the FAA, 1,900 others were moved to Lockheed. 

According to the lawyers for the employees, who were each specialists who gave air traffic control orders to pilots of private planes, most were unable to keep their pensions once they were transferred. 

“We hope this will be a cautionary reminder to federal employers and other employers that, as we have an increasingly aged workforce, employers should be extra careful to avoid making personnel decisions like layoffs because of age,” Joseph Sellers, the lead attorney for the workers in the lawsuit, said in a statement to the AP. 

When reached for comment by The Hill, the FAA said in a statement that the “settlement speaks for itself.” 

The FAA also sent along a copy of a 2016 Transportation Department inspector general report, which found that the FAA avoided about $2.13 billion in costs over a 13-year period as a result of the contract with Lockheed.