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Inconsistent Statements Can Be Costly For Employers

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma recently denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment on a former employee’s FMLA interference claim. While litigating the matter, the employer argued that the employee never truly was eligible to receive benefits under the FMLA (despite previously granting the employee leave under the Act). In response, the employee presented evidence that a supervisor had assured her while she was out on leave that her job was secure.  According to the court, this assurance could ultimately estop (prevent) the employer from later challenging the employee’s eligibility under the FMLA. Bottom line:  Make sure management and benefits personnel are on the same page in order to prevent inconsistent messages from being communicated to employees.


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