In Nagle v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that a former school district employee, who had not worked enough hours to be FMLA eligible, could not pursue a FMLA interference claim despite an allegation that a deputy superintendent orally approved the FMLA leave. The court held that a government employer like the school district is not bound by such misrepresentations except under the most unusual circumstances.
However, the court opined that similar misrepresentations by a private employer, if the employee reasonably relied on them, could support a FMLA interference claim. Nagle joins a few other federal courts which have also suggested that private employers may be bound by their FMLA misrepresentations. These cases emphasize the need for manager training regarding FMLA and other protected leave laws.