FMLA trap to avoid: Dodging the coverage-by-estoppel bullet

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in Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employers have to meet thresholds before they’re required to comply with most statutes. For example, the FMLA applies only to organizations that employ 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

But smaller employers can effectively render themselves covered by the FMLA if they make certain representations about FMLA coverage to their employees. If they say the FMLA applies, then it does. That’s commonly referred to as coverage-by-estoppel.

In Dobrowski v. Jay Dee Contractors, the 6th Circuit illustrated the dangers posed by coverage-by-estoppel. Even though Jay Dee had fewer than 50 employees and was not covered by the FMLA, when Daniel Dobrowski needed time off for surgery, Jay Dee’s president provided him a form titled “Application for Leave of Absence under the FMLA.”

Jay Dee dodged the estoppel bullet, but it was a close call.

Signed, sealed … delivered?

Before Dobrowski took leave, the company president sent him...(register to read more)

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