Dobrowski v. Jay Dee Contractors, Inc.

“Eligibility by Estoppel” under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

U.S. Chamber's Position: 

NCLC urged the Sixth Circuit to hold that FMLA eligibility cannot be created by estoppel for those employees that do not meet the minimum FMLA eligibility requirements. NCLC argued that eligibility cannot be created artificially by the courts or by administrative regulations by the Secretary of Labor.

Case Outcome: 

The Sixth Circuit agreed with NCLC to uphold a lower court's decision that the employer could not be estopped from denying FMLA to an ineligible employee. Although the court ultimately adopted a loose standard for applying the doctrine of equitable estoppel against an employer, it held that the employee could not benefit from the estoppel doctrine because he could not show he relied on the employer's misrepresentations about his FMLA eligibility.

Procedural History: 

Amicus brief filed 12/3/08. Decided 7/8/09.