Joe Lakis advises employers on workplace compliance and risk management matters. He specializes in the design and implementation of programs to mitigate systemic discrimination and other employment-related risks, and he is a nationally recognized expert in the nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

Joe has more than 20 years of professional experience in the field of workplace compliance. He began his career in the corporate human resources division of a national Fortune 500 retailer, where he led the company’s compliance team responsible for developing more than 2,000 affirmative action programs (AAP) each year, and for investigating and responding to all formal charges of workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and dozens of state and local fair employment practices agencies.

Joe advises employers across all major industries and regions regarding the full range of workplace compliance and diversity matters. He is a frequent trainer, speaker, and lecturer on the real-world risks inherent in today’s workplace, spending a significant portion of his practice counseling employers on effective ways to mitigate those risks. He also has extensive experience helping clients manage audits and investigations by the OFCCP and other workplace regulators.

His professional accomplishments include:

  • Assisted in the successful defense of hundreds of OFCCP compliance evaluations across nearly every major industry sector and region
  • Directed the legally privileged self-critical analysis of compensation for several companies in the retail, insurance, communications, and engineering industries
  • Advised or represented more than 30 large federal contractors in securing OFCCP approval of functional affirmative action program (AAP) structures
  • Represented clients in the retail, financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing, healthcare, software, consumer products, and transportation industries in sensitive negotiations with federal workplace regulators
  • Represented a large employer pursuing a nationwide compliance transition agreement with the OFCCP
  • Conducted or directed the sensitive investigations of dozens of allegations of workplace misconduct
  • Led the legal and compliance aspects of a large publishing company’s efforts to design and build an enterprise-wide talent acquisition system

In addition to his law firm role, Joe serves as the President of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) — the nation’s largest non-profit association focused on helping employers understand and comply with their workplace compliance requirements. In that capacity, he leads the organization’s extensive efforts to monitor, analyze, and report on developments affecting workplace compliance and risk. He also regularly interacts with federal workplace regulators and senior policy officials to help them better understand the practical implications of their policy and enforcement positions.

Joe is also the President and General Counsel of the firm’s affiliated consulting group, Employment Advisory Services, Inc., where he maintains an active consulting practice as one of the firm’s Principal Consultants.

Joe Lakis

Senior Partner


J.D., Hofstra University School of Law
B.S., Long Island University

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia
New York


Northern District of Illinois Federal Courts