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Sixth Circuit says no "estoppel" for Family Medical Leave Act

On Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit concluded that an ill employee could not enforce his employer's promise of coverage under the Family Medical Leave Act if the employer wasn't statutorily obligated to provide FMLA benefits.  The case is Daniel Dobrowski v. Jay Dee Contractors, and it arises out of an elective surgical procedure to treat epilepsy.  The plaintiff, a mechanical engineer, scheduled the procedure after being reassured, in writing, that he was covered under the FMLA and would be re-hired after 12 weeks.  When he attempted to return to work after four weeks, however, Dobrowski was terminated and Jay Dee informed him that he was not eligible for protection under the FMLA because Jay Dee did not employ the requisite number of people.  The Court concluded that Jay Dee was not obligated to fulfill its promise to Dobrowski.

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