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.

Citing research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on June 5, 2010, the New York Times reported that one in five women are obese when they become pregnant.  The article states "obesity might be contributing to record-high rates of Caesarean section and leading to more birth defects and deaths for mothers and babies." 

As well illustrated in the NYT

When a law, such as the ADA, restricts an employer’s rights to take reasonable, measured steps to promote workplace safety, it ought to be re-examined.  Years ago, Justice Souter observed that preventing employers from considering "risk to self," an ADA rule many disability rights advocates had sought, would have put the ADA at "loggerheads" with federal OSHA policy requiring employers to ensure the

An employee goes on FMLA leave unable to work temporarily due to uncontrolled diabetes. The employee’s essential job functions include driving a forklift and working with other dangerous machinery. Many in the workplace are aware of the situation because the employee lost consciousness while working and had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Many employers limit “transitional work” or “light duty” to individuals with work-related injuries. But is such a practice lawful? Most believe it is. Many years ago, in fact, the EEOC specifically endorsed the practice, with some caveats, in its Enforcement Guidance on the ADA and Workers’ Compensation. However, in a September 2009 EEOC press release