7th Circuit Holds that Employer Who Granted Employee FMLA Leave is Estopped from Later Claiming that the Employee was Not Entitled to the Leave

On May 2, 2014, the 7th Circuit held that an employer who grants an employee a leave of absence for some time under the Family and Medical Leave Act is estopped from subsequently claiming that the employee was not entitled to the FMLA leave.  Holder v. Illinois Department of Corrections, No. 12-1456 (May 2, 2014).  In its decision, the 7th Circuit stated that to establish a claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employee must show: (1) he was eligible for FMLA protection; (2) his employer is covered by the FMLA; (3) he was entitled to take leave under the FMLA; (4) he provided sufficient notice of his intent to take leave to his employer; and (5) his employer denied him FMLA benefits to which he was entitled. 

The 7th Circuit also raised but left for future decision the issue of whether the definition of a serious health condition under the FMLA for an employee--one that makes the employee unable to perform his job--should apply to an ailing family member who needs care from an employee but can still work.