An employee in a 90-day temporary assignment alleged FMLA retaliation when her employer returned her to her permanent position after she left work to care for a terminally ill uncle. Although she admitted her absence wasn’t covered under the FMLA, she argued the defendant was equitably estopped from disputing her FMLA eligibility because her manager had approved her request for “emergency leave” and “a[n] FMLA package.” In Dawkins v. Fulton Cnty., No. 12-11951, 2013 WL 5422977 (11th Cir. Sept. 30, 2013), the Eleventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the employer, finding the employee failed to establish a prima facie case of equitable estoppel. The plaintiff did not rely on any misrepresentation because she had already planned to leave work regardless of her FMLA eligibility and before she received her manager’s approval. Moreover, she’d previously taken FMLA leave and was familiar with the company’s FMLA policy, so any reliance would have been unreasonable.
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