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McCollum v. Department of Transportation (FAA)
EEOC Hearing No. 310-2004-00322x

Nichols Kaster has partnered with Jeff Atchley of Norwood & Atchley and Donati Law Firm in Memphis, Tennessee in representing the Class in this case. Jeff Atchley has been litigating this case since the very beginning and brought Nichols Kaster on in the late fall of 2012.

This age discrimination class action was initiated back in November 2003 when PATCO striker David McCollum (Houston ARTCC) filed an EEO complaint of age discrimination against the FAA after not being hired as an ATCS at Houston ARTCC. The case is pending in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Dallas office and is assigned to an EEOC Administrative Judge. The Judge certified the case as a class action in 2006.

The Class claims that beginning in 1999 through the present, the FAA has discriminated against the PATCO applicants on the basis of age.

Am I eligible?

The EEO Administrative Judge certified the following class:

Those PATCO Inventory applicants who were not selected for Terminal and Enroute Air Traffic Control Specialist vacancies (at their preferred locations) beginning on September 16, 2003, and thereafter. Preferred locations refer to the locations identified by the PATCO Inventory applicant as ones for which they would like to be considered for ATCS employment.

Therefore, pursuant to the Judge’s Order, the class was defined as those PATCO strikers who applied for reinstatement in 1993 after President Clinton lifted the ban on rehire and the FAA issued Recruitment Notice 93-01. If you applied under that Notice, the FAA placed you on their “PATCO Inventory.” If you were still on that list (i.e. you had not been rehired) as of September 16, 2003, then you are an eligible class member in this case and should have received notice of the case from the FAA back in 2007. There were 3,652 names on that PATCO Inventory in September, 2003.

A copy of the Judge’s Certification Order may be read here.

Additional Information

Do I Have To Pay Anything In This Class Action

We represent the interests of ALL class members during this liability phase of the case.  Our role is to develop the evidence and try to obtain a finding of class discrimination.  If the Class prevails on liability, or we reach a settlement that is approved by the Administrative Judge, then all class members are bound by that judgment or settlement.   Similarly, if we lose, then all class members who have not filed an EEO complaint of their own are bound by the decision as well.   If we are successful in getting a finding of class discrimination, then the FAA will be directed to mail a Notice to the Class advising them they have the right to file a claim as a class member.  That Notice will typically include a copy of the Decision and allow a period of time to conduct fact discovery on the issues related to remedies.

At that point we will be in what is called the “remedies” phase of the case.  In the remedies phase, we DO NOT represent all class members.  Rather, each class member will have the responsibility for filing their own individual claim.  This is true as to any settlement as well.   In the claim-filing process at that point, we can only represent those class members who have specifically retained us to do so.  Because this type of case, unlike all other kinds of discrimination cases, does not provide for the recovery of attorney fees and expenses if we win on behalf of the Class, class members who want us to represent their individual claim, must retain us on an individual basis.  For anyone who chooses to retain us at this time to handle their individual claim during the remedies phase, we are doing so on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only get paid if you get a recovery, and our attorneys’ fees come solely out of that recovery and not your pocket.  In other words, if we are unable to obtain any recovery for you in this case (in the form of back pay and lost benefits, including retroactive retirement credit), then we will not get paid either, and you will owe us nothing.   

How Do I Learn More?

If you have questions about whether you are an eligible class member, please feel free to email or call Rachhana Srey at or toll free at (877) 448-0492, ext. 239, or email Jeff Atchley at

If you need to update any of your information, please feel free to contact the contact the case clerk, Bridget Peterson, at or (612) 256-3259.

Case Updates

  • July 10, 2020

    FAA Case Update

    EEOC Administrative Judge Veronica A. Cuadra conducted the liability hearing in this case over approximately six weeks in November 2017, November 2018, and March 2019. After the close of testimony, the parties submitted their final written briefs to the Judge at the end of July 2019. The Judge has a large amount of information to analyze in this case, and there is no set deadline by which she must issue her decision. However, we remain hopeful that the Judge will issue her decision in 2020. Class members will hear from us once we receive her decision.

    Feel free to contact Class Action Clerk, Paige Dobberstein at or 612-256-3226, with any questions or changes in contact information.

  • September 9, 2014

    FAA Update or (612) 256-3242, with any questions or changes in contact information.
  • August 8, 2013

    Anniversary of Struggle Between FAA Workers and Reagan

    This week in 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired all of the striking Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (“PATCO”) union members who would not return to work for the FAA as he had ordered. Since only 1,300 returned to work upon his order, he ultimately fired the remaining 11,345 PATCO strikers, both barring them from obtaining federal employment for three years and banning them from reemployment with the FAA for life. Then, on August 12, 1993, President Bill Clinton lifted this ban and said the PATCO strikers could be eligible for rehire to the FAA. A class of PATCO strikers, who had joined the pool of air traffic control applicants, believes that, since 1999, the FAA has discriminated against them on the basis of age. Last year, Nichols Kaster Partnered up with Norwood & Atchley and the Donati Law Firm in Memphis, Tennessee, in representing this class of PATCO strikers. For more information on this case click here.

  • February 4, 2013

    FAA Update

    At this time, we are busy with a phase of the case called “discovery.” During this phase, the parties are traveling around the country meeting with PATCO controllers and collecting evidence from the FAA about our claims and the Agency’s defenses. The discovery phase of the case is scheduled to be completed by mid-April 2013.

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