Francis P. Alvarez

Photo of Francis P. Alvarez

Francis P. (Frank) Alvarez is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is the Leader of the Disability, Leave and Health Management Practice Group, which assists employers in meeting the legal and practical challenges posed by federal and state laws protecting injured and ill employees.

Counseling hundreds of employers each year, Mr. Alvarez spearheads the firm’s effort to provide imaginative and creative solutions to the complex array of workplace disability and health management issues faced by both large and small companies. In the Jackson Lewis tradition, Mr. Alvarez counsels clients with the goal of either avoiding litigation entirely or improving outcomes before administrative agencies, courts and juries.

Mr. Alvarez especially enjoys assisting clients conduct the “individualized assessment” required by a growing number of federal and state laws. These efforts include helping employers effectively communicate with employees and medical providers in an effort to evaluate potential risks to health and safety posed by employee injuries or illnesses. In an area of law in which there often are few bright lines, Mr. Alvarez attempts to develop practical and constructive solutions centered on the concept he calls "tc2" -- taking care of employees and taking control of risks.

Recently, Mr. Alvarez has begun leading the Firm into another exciting and fast-developing area of workplace law called "health management." Challenged by increases in health care and work injury costs, employers are searching for innovative ways to motivate employees to participate in wellness and health promotion programs. Mr. Alvarez leads a team of Jackson Lewis attorneys who advise employers on ways to implement these important programs while complying with emerging and largely undeveloped federal and state law protections.

Mr. Alvarez writes and speaks frequently on disability management issues, including legal developments under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. He has delivered presentations at major speaking engagements, including SHRM's national and legislative conferences. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Alvarez has represented employers as lead counsel in both trial and appellate courts and has successfully tried employment discrimination claims to verdict.

Latest Articles

Late Friday, the Connecticut House passed a paid family and medical leave bill, which Governor Ned Lamont said he will sign, to provide paid leave to eligible employees and significantly expand employee eligibility and covered reasons for leave.   The major practical effects of the bill, once signed, are: Making 12 weeks of paid leave, funded by a 0.5%  employee payroll tax (effective in 2021), available to the vast majority of employees in Connecticut beginning in 2022; and Expanding covered FMLA reasons…
Connecticut employers and employees are focused on Hartford, where last night the Senate passed a paid family and medical leave bill. Governor Ned Lamont said yesterday he would veto the bill. While Governor Lamont supports paid family and medical leave, he said he disagrees with the state-administered system outlined in the bill and wants to explore alternative options for administration of a paid leave program. The bill passed by the Senate would provide up to 12 weeks…
Companies should begin preparing now for the new Westchester County Earned Sick Leave Law (“WCESLL”), which becomes effective on April 10, 2019. Here are five steps to get employers started. 1. Determine Whether Your Company Must Provide Employees More Paid Time Or Expand The Reasons Employees Can Use Paid Time Benefits. Employers should confirm they provide eligible employees with the minimum amount of leave they are entitled to under the WCESLL. At the start of…
In a much anticipated decision, a Wisconsin federal district court has granted Orion Energy Systems, Inc.’s summary judgment on the EEOC’s challenge to its wellness program design. See Sept 19, 2016 Decision and Order. While largely good news for Orion, the ruling creates even more confusion for employers seeking clarity on wellness program design principles.  In short, the Court: 1) rejected the EEOC’s claim that the wellness program violated the ADA because it was “involuntary;”…
According to a recent New York Times article, “Facebook scrambled on Monday to respond to a new and startling line of attack: accusations of political bias.” Slate followed with a report that the online social networking giant became the subject of a United States Senate inquiry, with Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune wanting information about how Facebook chooses stories for its “Trending” section, among other things. According to the reports, Facebook promotes its Trending section as an algorithmic tool…
When tragic events like Hurricane Sandy occur, many companies try to find ways to assist affected individuals, including the company’s employees and their families.  “Leave sharing” programs, in which employees donate paid leave to other employees who need to miss work due to the storm or disaster, often become popular.  Many companies are surprised to learn that there are unique legal requirements for these programs, which are summarized in a new post on our Firm’s Benefits Law Advisor Blog
The Ninth Circuit ruled today in James v. City of Costa Mesa, that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not protect medical marijuana users who claim they are subject to discrimination on the basis of their marijuana use. The Court concluded that doctor-recommended marijuana use permitted by state law, but prohibited by federal law, is an illegal use of drugs for purposes of the ADA which excludes from its definition of “disability” individuals who are currently engaged…
Employers who use financial incentives to motivate employees to complete health risk appraisals as part of their group health plans can breathe a little easier.  Relying on the ADA’s “safe harbor” for insurance practices, a Florida federal district court has rejected a class action lawsuit challenging Broward County’s use of a $20 surcharge to motivate completion of a health risk appraisal.  As we previously reported, this case is extremely important for many employers.  Health risk appraisals often are the cornerstones…
The EEOC has released an unofficial version of the much-awaited Final Regulations implementing the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). The official version, published in the Federal Register, will be released tomorrow. The Final Regulations become effective 60 days from March 25, 2011, the day they will be published in the Federal Register, The EEOC also has posted Questions and Answers and a Fact Sheet on the Final Rule. Our Disability, Leave and Health Management Practice Group…
The class action wave seems to have come ashore for employers using financial incentives to drive participation in wellness programs.  Leveraging the uncertain legal environment we have discussed previously, a federal district court in Florida granted class certification to current and former employees charged a $20 bi-weekly surcharge for not participating in a “voluntary” wellness program requiring biometric testing (finger stick for glucose and cholesterol) and completion of an online health risk assessment.    The federal court complaint, filed on August 10, 2010, sought a…