Third Circuit adopts “about to” test for gauging protected activity under FLSA
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under federal wage law (FLSA). But what if the employee hasn’t yet, maybe is about to? In Uronis v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., the Third Circuit held FLSA prohibits retaliation “where an employer anticipates an employee will soon file a consent to join an FLSA collective action (or is “about to testify”) — (even if) no such ‘testimony’ has yet occurred or been scheduled or subpoenaed.” In so holding, the Third Circuit rejected the argument that the person must have at least taken “overt act” under FLSA.
Uronis adequately pleaded that Appellees had fair notice that he engaged in protected activity. Taking Uronis’ allegations as true, Appellees explicitly declined to hire him “because of” the (collective action lawsuit under FLSA). … Based on his allegations, it is plausible that Appellees discriminated against Uronis based on their anticipation that he would file a consent to join the collective action, or otherwise give relevant testimony. Retaliating against an employee based on such a perception violates Section 15(a)(3) (of FLSA).