Joseph J. Centeno

Joseph J. Centeno is Chairman of Obermayer’s Labor Relations & Employment Law Department. His national practice includes collective and class action litigation, employment litigation, labor relations 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.

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. He is the Chairman of the Labor Relations and Employment Law Department. Mr. Centeno is the firm’s Pro Bono Partner, a member of the Long Range Planning Committee, the Chairman and Founder of the firm’s Diversity Committee and Co-Chair of the Education Law Practice Group.

Practice Areas

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Education Law
  • Employee Benefits
  • Immigration
  • Labor Relations and Employment Law
  • Regulatory, Administrative and Gaming


  • Boston College Law School (JD)
  • Amherst College (BA)

Honors & Awards

  • 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®” as listed in both Philadelphia magazine and Thomson Reuters, Legal Magazine, Pennsylvania Super Lawyers (2007, 2009-2014)
  • Legal Intelligencer Diverse Attorney of Year, 2011
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Best Under 40, 2006

Professional & Civic Activities

  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, President
  • Commissioner, Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
  • Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania, President
  • 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 H. Liu Scholars Program, Selection Committee 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