In Hamilton v. Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, No. 00-CV-300SR, 00-CV-863SR, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55522, at *22-23 (W.D.N.T. July 31, 2007), the court, relying on Second Circuit precedent, rejected the employer's argument that the administrative determination by the Workers' Compensation Board that the employer had legitimate business reasons for discharging the employee precluded the employee from pursuing his FMLA claims.
Comment: Employers are rarely successful in arguing that the determination of an administrative agency interpreting another law (e.g., entitlement to workers' compensation) is binding on a court when interpreting the FMLA. This is because the requirements to establish a right to payment under a workers' compensation statute are not the same as the requirements for establishing entitlement to FMLA leave.
Of course, this does not mean that information gained during a workers' compensation appeal may not be useful in attacking the validity of the employee's FMLA suit. The admissions and statements an employee makes in their workers' compensation appeal is often very useful to impeach the employee on their subsequent FMLA claim.