A county road commission worker was able to deflect his employer’s attempt to defeat his Family and Medical Leave Act case by arguing that the employee was ineligible. Although the employee was, in fact, ineligible, the employer’s poorly worded employee manual appeared to promise FMLA coverage to the employee. That was enough for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide the employee was allowed to go forward to trial with the argument that the employer should be legally barred from arguing about eligibility as a result of the misrepresentation and the employee’s reliance upon it.
The worker who sued was Terry Tilley, an employee of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. In late July 2011, Tilley’s supervisor reprimanded him for failing to complete certain assignments on time. The supervisor imposed a new set of deadlines by which Tilley must have his work finished or else face additional punishment, including job termination. On the morning of the last day for completing one of the assignments, Tilley suffered a medical event that led to his admission to a hospital, from which he was not released until the next day.