MERRITT, Chief Judge. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, removal of an action from state to federal court is allowed when the federal court has "original jurisdiction" over the action because it is "founded on a claim or right arising" under federal law.*fn1 This appeal raises an issue concerning federal removal jurisdiction in cases in which ERISA preemption*fn2 is asserted as a defense. In September 1992, the plaintiff brought a case for damages and reinstatement against his employer in a Michigan state court claiming age discrimination in violation of Michigan law. The complaint in state court contained only a state law claim. Therefore, under ordinary rules of removal jurisdiction the case could not properly be removed to federal court because it was not "founded" on federal law. In October 1992, the defendant removed the case from state to federal court on the basis of the so-called "complete preemption exception" (discussed below) to the "well-pleaded complaint rule" -- the rule "that the plaintiff is the master of the complaint, that [for removal to be proper] a federal question must appear on the face of the complaint, and that the plaintiff may, by eschewing claims based on federal law, choose to have the cause heard in state court." Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 398-99, 96 L. Ed. 2d 318, 107 S. Ct. 2425 (1987). See R. Levy, Federal Preemption, Removal Jurisdiction, and the Well-Pleaded Complaint Rule, 51 U. Chi. L. Rev. 634, 642 (1984)(well-pleaded complaint rule based on ease of administration because it "saves considerable time and expense and enhances predictability, reliability, uniformity and reviewability of results").