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Ineligible Worker May Sue Based On Handbook Provisions.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that an Indianapolis worker who was deemed ineligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may sue his former employer under state law for either breach of contract or promissory estoppel. According to the federal appellate court, statements in the employee handbook and two letters received by the employee that promised him 12 weeks of FMLA leave may have been sufficient to create an enforceable contract under Indiana law. Alternatively, the court held that the worker may be able to prove his claim for promissory estoppel because he relied to his detriment on the company’s promises.