Joseph J. Centeno
Chairman, Labor Relations & Employment Law
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Joseph J. Centeno is Chairman of Obermayer's Labor Relations & Employment Law Department and a member of the firm's Management Committee. His national practice includes collective and class action litigation, employment litigation, labor relations, policies, leave, termination of employment, joint employment, diversity, Title IX and executive employment agreements, and he counsels employers on virtually all employment and labor related laws and regulations. He has extensive jury trial experience and has been lead trial counsel in numerous high stakes trials. He also has broad experience in defending claims before state and federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, where he served as a Commissioner by mayoral appointment.
Mr. Centeno further represents public and private employers in matters relating to labor organizing, negotiations, arbitrations and issues before the National Labor Relations Board.
Representative engagements include the following:
- Represented major employers in FLSA collective and class actions for “misclassification” and “off the clock” claims.
- Represented major financial institution in collective action alleging retaliation relating to U-5 filings and discriminatory discharge.
- Represented global manufacturing company in multiple labor arbitrations.
- Represented global supply company in restrictive covenant litigation.
- Represented national health care company in multi-jurisdictional labor and employment matters.
- Represented global manufacturing company in litigation brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Special Labor Counsel to municipalities and townships as lead negotiator for collective bargaining agreements.
- Represented a major university in handling federal employment discrimination litigation.
- Represented a national retailer in negotiating and drafting an employment agreement for the CEO.
Mr. Centeno has been successful in appeals before the United States Supreme Court on an employer's obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act. Mr. Centeno also has been successful before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania on issues relating to trade secret protections.
Mr. Centeno is active in Obermayer’s management. Mr. Centeno is the former Chairman and Founder of the firm's Diversity Committee and Co-Chair of the Education Law Practice Group. He also leads the firm’s Wage & Hour Practice Group. Mr. Centeno is also a national advocate for diversity in the legal profession. He has served as the President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. He also serves on the Comcast NBCU Joint Diversity Council and as Outside General Counsel to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. As Chairman, his department has grown to 50% diverse.
Honors & Awards
- AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
- Diversity In the Bar publication’s “Best of the Best” Labor and Employment Lawyers
- Fellow, Temple Academy of Advocacy
- Filipino American Association of Philadelphia, Inc. (FAAPI) Centennial Award for Public Interest Law (2012)
- Named as one of Pennsylvania's "Super Lawyers®" (2007, 2009-2017)
- The Legal Intelligencer, Diverse Attorney of the Year, 2011
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Best Under 40, 2006
Professional & Civic Activities
- Minority Corporate Council Association, Outside General Counsel and Assistant Secretary
- Comcast-NBCU Joint Diversity Council, Member
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, President (2009-2010), Nominations Committee and Leadership Advisory Council
- Commissioner, Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (2004)
- Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, President (2005)
- Pennsylvania Bar Association, Minority Bar Committee, Member
- Pennsylvania Bar Association, Judicial Independence Committee, Member
- Philadelphia Bar Association, Judicial Selection and Retention Committee
- Philadelphia Bar Association, Board of Governors (2005-2006)
- Philadelphia Diversity Law Group, Board Member
- National Employment Law Council, Board Member
- Don Liu Scholarship, Scholar Section Committee and Board Member
- American Bar Association, Chairperson to Young Lawyer's Subcommittee to the Employment and Labor Relations Committee (Litigation Section)
- National Association of College and University Attorneys
- Amherst College Alumni Association
- Homeless Advocacy Project
Related Articles & Publications
- Employee Medical Leave: The Reasonableness Conundrum
- Managing the Employee Who Is Also A Plaintiff; Retaliation Update
- Gender Stereotypes: An Overview of an Emerging "Protected Class" Under Title V
- Never Get Sued Again By Your Employees: Arbitration Agreements, Fact or Fiction
- The Changing Landscape of the American With Disability Act
- You Don't Sing Me Love Songs At Work: The Ballad of Romance Policies
Related Firm News
- Obermayer Attorneys Named To 2016 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® And Rising Stars Lists
- Obermayer Attorneys Named To 2015 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® And Rising Stars Lists
- Joseph J. Centeno Elected to Obermayer's Management Committee
- Obermayer Attorneys Named to 2014 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars Lists
- Firm featured in Philadelphia Business Journal, "Obermayer starts immigration practice with Suh"
- Obermayer Adds Labor Relations & Employment Law Partner
- Firm Launches Labor & Employment Law HRLegalist Blog
- Obermayer Attorneys Named to 2013 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists
- Obermayer’s Labor Partners Joseph Centeno and Jason Reisman Lead DELVACCA Roundtable Discussion
- Obermayer’s Joe Centeno Selected to Receive Filipino American Association of Philadelphia, Inc. Centennial Award
- Obermayer Attorneys Named to 2012 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers® and 2011 Pennsylvania Rising Stars lists
- Joseph J. Centeno Chosen as a “Diverse Attorney of the Year” by The Legal Intelligencer
- Joseph J. Centeno Elected President Of The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
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