Uronis v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., No. 21-1874 (3d Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Uronis’ former co-worker, Messenger, filed a putative Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action against Cabot and another company on behalf of himself and other employees similarly situated, alleging that the companies jointly employed the employees and failed to pay them required overtime pay. Uronis, as a similarly situated employee who had yet to file a consent to join the collective action, was a putative member of the Messenger action. Uronis applied for a position with Cabot’s subsidiary, GDS. Cabot and GDS were aware Uronis was a putative member of, and anticipated witness in, the Messenger action, and that he was about to file his consent to join. A GDS manager sent Uronis a text message stating that although Uronis was qualified for the position he applied for, Cabot declined to hire him or any other putative members of the Messenger action “because of” that lawsuit.
The FLSA prohibits discrimination against an employee because the employee has engaged in protected activity 29 U.S.C. 215(a)(3), including having “testified” or being “about to testify” in any FLSA-related proceeding. The district court dismissed Uronis’ suit, reasoning that being “about to testify” requires being “scheduled” or subpoenaed to do so. The Third Circuit reversed. The FLSA “about to testify” language protects employees from discrimination because of an employer’s anticipation that the employee will soon file a consent to join a collective action.