Joseph T. Clees

Shareholder || Phoenix

Joe Clees is a founding shareholder of the firm’s Phoenix office and has served in a variety of firm leadership roles, including its Board of Directors. Mr. Clees represents employers throughout the United States in employment litigation and labor relations.  He also counsels clients on a wide array of state, federal and tribal compliance laws. Joe has been singled out by Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers as one of the top labor and employment lawyers in the country for many years and as a Chambers USA Top Leader in his Field.  He has been applauded for his “integrity and common sense” as well as his “pragmatic style.”  Joe was honored as one of the “100 Most Powerful Employment Lawyers in America” by HR Executive magazine each year from 2009 to 2019.  He was named an “Eminent Practitioner” by Chambers in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and he is ranked in the “Number 1” tier among Arizona employment lawyers by Chambers, and has been selected as one of Arizona’s Finest Lawyers. In addition, Joe has been named a “Top 100” Lawyer by Arizona Business Magazine from 2015 to 2018.

In 2014, Joe was named a Fellow in The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  He also has been recognized for several years as one of the Best Lawyers in America and honored as one of the Best Lawyers in the United States.  Joe has been singled out as one of the “The Legal 500” nationally and the Arizona Business Magazine has recognized him as an “Arizona Business Leader” and one of the “Top Attorneys of Arizona.”  He also has been designated as a “Best of the Bar” by the Phoenix Business Journal and has been rated as a “Southwest Super Lawyer” for many years.  He has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Southwest Super Lawyers” from 2010 to 2015.

In 2016, Joe was honored as the “Phoenix Lawyer of the Year” for Labor Law-Management by Best Lawyers and in 2013 was “Phoenix Lawyer of the Year” for Employment Law-Management.  He has served as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Arizona’s Employment and Labor Law Section, a member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Affirmative Action Association and Board of Directors of the Metro Phoenix Human Resources Association (SHRM).  He is employment law counsel to many industry and trade groups and he regularly speaks on labor and employment law topics, both regionally and nationally.

Learn more about Joseph T. Clees

Education

  • J.D., Villanova University, 1984
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Dickinson College, 1981

Admittance to Practice

  • Arizona
  • Arizona Court of Appeals
  • Arizona Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Apache Tribal Court

Professional Activities

  • Arizona Affirmative Action Association (Past Board Member)
  • Arizona Alliance of Business (Past President)
  • Arizona Asian American Bar Association
  • Arizona Bankers Association
  • Arizona Employer’s Council (Past Board Member)
  • Arizona Employment Law Handbook (Past Editor)
  • Arizona Healthcare Human Resource Association (Legal Counsel)
  • Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association (Legal Counsel)
  • Arizona Labor Letter (Former Member, Editorial Board)
  • Arizona Restaurant Association (Legal Counsel)
  • Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Film Spark Board
  • Arizona State University, President’s Club
  • Brophy College Preparatory, President’s Club
  • Canada Arizona Business Council
  • GratitudeAmerica, Inc. (Member of the National Board)
  • Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association
  • Management Labor & Employment Roundtable
  • Metro Phoenix Human Resources Association (SHRM) (Past Member, Board of Directors)
  • National Indian Gaming Association
  • Native American Bar Association – Arizona
  • Phoenix Friends of the Library (Past Board Chair)
  • SHRM of Greater Phoenix
  • Society of Human Resource Management
  • Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC)
  • Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS (Campaign Cabinet)
  • State Bar of Arizona (Employment and Labor Law Section-Past Chair, Executive Committee)
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles

Speeches

  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "The Most Bizarre Employment Cases of 2018 - California Style" - Napa - February 28, 2019
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Safety Symposium - "You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up: Wacky Cases From the World of Employment and Safety" - Nashville - December 6, 2018
  • Corporate Labor and Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Pop Quiz - Labor and Employment Exclusive Style" - La Quinta - November 8, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Headline News: The Perfect Start to Managing a Workforce in 2019" - Scottsdale - October 26, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "The Wacky World of Employment Law" - Scottsdale - October 26, 2018
  • Arizona Casino - "Labor Relations Management" - Scottsdale - June 27, 2018
  • 2018 EEOC Phoenix Seminar - "Making Credibility Determination" - Phoenix - June 21, 2018
  • Arizona Healthcare Human Resource Association Webinar - "Prop 206 – How has this Changed Sick Time and Wage and Hour Issues in Arizona Healthcare and Sexual Harassment Involving Physicians and Other Healthcare Professionals in the #MeToo Era" - June 20, 2018
  • League of Arizona Cities and Towns City Attorney Conference - "Stress & Burnout" - Prescott - June 14, 2018
  • Arizona Healthcare Human Resource Association Conference - "Employment Law Update" - Scottsdale - May 18, 2018
  • SHRM Central Valley - "Employment Law Update" - Phoenix - May 16, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "The Wacky World of Employment Law" - Phoenix - May 10, 2018
  • New Mexico Hospital - "RESPECT: Creating and Maintaining a Professional Harassment-Free Workplace" - Albuquerque - May 2, 2018
  • National Construction Company - "Recent Trends in Workplace Harassment Law" - Tempe - April 24, 2018
  • SHRM NM Legislative Conference - "Employment Law Update" - Albuquerque - April 23, 2018
  • Arizona Casino - "Employment Law for Tribal Casinos" - Scottsdale - April 16, 2018
  • LEAP 2018 – The 14th Annual Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium - "The Most Bizarre Employment Law Cases of the Year" - Las Vegas - April 12, 2018
  • LEAP 2018 – The 14th Annual Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium - "Washington Watch" - Las Vegas - April 12, 2018
  • Arizona Casino - "Recent NLRB Updates" - Scottsdale - April 10, 2018
  • CHO Group - "Sexual Harassment in the Post-Weinstein Era" - Phoenix - April 10, 2018
  • Ogletree Deakins Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "The Most Bizarre Employment Cases of 2017 - California Style" - Napa - March 1, 2018
  • AZSHRM 2018 Employment Law & Legislative Conference - "Dazed and Confused? Marijuana and Prescription Drug Issues at Work" - Phoenix - January 26, 2018
  • AZSHRM 2018 Employment Law & Legislative Conference - "Employment Law Update" - Phoenix - January 26, 2018
  • National Resort and Hotel - "Harassment Training" - Indian Wells - December 14, 2017
  • National Resort and Hotel - "Positive Employee Relations Training" - Indian Wells - December 14, 2017
  • CELC Annual Event - "Trump Administration Update, One Year In" - San Francisco - November 16, 2017
  • Quality of Life Services Company - "Recent Legal Trends and Hot Topics" - Scottsdale - November 8, 2017
  • National REIT - "Harassment Prevention Training" - Santa Monica - October 30, 2017
  • Workplace Safety Symposium - "The Wacky World of Employment Law" - Dallas - October 26, 2017
  • National REIT - "Harassment Prevention Training" - Phoenix - October 25, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "Headline News - The Perfect Start to Managing a Workforce in 2018" - Scottsdale - October 20, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Seminar - "The Wacky World of Employment Law" - Scottsdale - October 20, 2017
  • University - "Ethics in the Workplace" - Phoenix - October 17, 2017
  • National Healthcare Provider - "Labor and Employment Law Training" - Phoenix - September 26, 2017
  • Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals Conference - "Employment Law Update" - Chandler - September 23, 2017
  • Arizona Casino - "Employee Relations Training" - Scottsdale - September 14, 2017
  • Arizona Hospital - "Employee Relations Training" - Yuma - September 7, 2017
  • Arizona SHRM State Conference - "What to Expect From the Trump Administration" - Glendale - September 1, 2017
  • Arizona Bankers Association - "Overview and Introduction to Employment Law" - Scottsdale - August 24, 2017
  • National Healthcare Provider - "Labor and Employment Law Training" - Phoenix - August 22, 2017
  • 2017 Association of Legal Administrators Arizona Chapter Education Conference & Business Partner Symposium - "Employment Law Update" - Scottsdale - August 16, 2017
  • Online Used Car Dealer - "Overview and Introduction to Employment Law – HR 101" - Tempe - August 16, 2017
  • National Healthcare Provider - "Overview and Introduction to Employment Law" - Dallas - July 28, 2017
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Arizona Chapter - "Keeping Up with the EEOC: The Latest on Pattern and Practice Initiatives" - Phoenix - July 13, 2017
  • National Resort and Hotel - "Labor and Employment Law Training" - Phoenix - June 27, 2017
  • AZilg - "Employment Law Update" - Phoenix - June 20, 2017
  • Hospitality Human Resources Association - "Arizona’s Paid Sick Leave Law: New Regulations, Insights, and implantation Tips" - Scottsdale - June 14, 2017
  • Arizona Bankers Association - "Employment Law Update" - Marana - June 9, 2017
  • Arizona Bankers Association - "Overview and Introduction to Employment Law" - Marana - June 9, 2017
  • Global Commercial Real Estate Services Company - "Harassment Prevention & Diversity Training 101" - Phoenix - June 6, 2017
  • Association of Legal Administrators - "Employment Law Update: Arizona Prop 206" - Phoenix - May 23, 2017
  • Arizona Healthcare Human Resources Association - "What Healthcare Employers Can Expect in 2017" - Phoenix - May 19, 2017
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "The Wacky World of Employment Law" - San Diego - May 4, 2017
  • Canada Arizona Business Council - "Employment and Immigration Law Update" - Phoenix - April 27, 2017
  • National Healthcare Provider - "Labor and Employment Law Training" - Phoenix - April 18, 2017
  • Worldwide Golf Course Management Company - "Employment Law Update" - Scottsdale - April 14, 2017
  • LEAP 2017 – The 13th Annual Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium - "The Most Bizarre Employment Law Cases of 2016" - Las Vegas - March 30, 2017
  • SHRM NM Legislative Conference - "The Most Bizarre Employment Law Cases of the Year" - Albuquerque - March 28, 2017
  • Arizona Hospitality Human Resource Association - "What Healthcare Employers Can Expect in 2017" - Phoenix - March 17, 2017
  • Enterprise University - "Employment Law Update" - Phoenix - March 14, 2017
  • Vistage International - "Employment Law Update" - Phoenix - March 9, 2017
  • Navigating California Employment Law Seminar - "The Most Bizarre Employment Cases of 2016 – California Style" - Napa - March 2, 2017
  • HRESR (Human Resource Executive Summit & Retreat) - "Employment Law Update" - Phoenix - February 27, 2017
  • National Healthcare Provider - "What Employers Can Expect in 2017" - Tucson - February 9, 2017
  • AZSHRM 2017 Employment Law & Legislative Conference - "Employment Law Update" - Phoenix - January 27, 2017
  • AZSHRM 2017 Employment Law & Legislative Conference - "Workplace Privacy issues" - Phoenix - January 27, 2017
  • Southwest Arizona Human Resource Association - "PROP 206 Education Forum" - Yuma - January 4, 2017
  • Arizona Restaurant Association and AMFA Presentation - "Prop 206 Education Forum" - Phoenix - December 16, 2016
  • Maricopa County Community College District - "Hottest Employment Law Topics" - Tempe - November 29, 2016
  • Southwest Arizona Human Resource Association 2016 Annual Conference - "Employment Law Changes in 2016 and Beyond" - Yuma - October 28, 2016
  • Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association - "Hot Topics in Healthcare Employment Law" - Marana - October 27, 2016
  • HR Summit - "Hot Topics in Employment Law" - Scottsdale - October 21, 2016
  • NV SHRMGP - "Law Recap, Past & Future" - Scottsdale - October 5, 2016
  • Managing a Workforce in 2017 - "Wacky Cases of 2015-2016" - Scottsdale - October 4, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor & Employment Counsel Exclusive - "Managing the Vexatious Plaintiff….Who Still Works for You…" - Colorado Springs - September 29, 2016
  • Phoenix Area Hospital - "Professionalism in the Workplace" - Phoenix - September 14, 2016
  • SHRM East Valley - "Dazed and Confused by Drug Laws? A Sober, Clear-Eyed Approach to Compliance" - Tempe - September 14, 2016
  • Arizona State SHRM Conference - "Legal Update Panel" - Chandler - September 2, 2016
  • Arizona State SHRM Conference - "The Most Bizarre Employment Law Cases of the Year!" - Chandler - September 1, 2016
  • 2016 EEOC Phoenix Seminar - "Dusting Off the Employee Handbook Panel" - Phoenix - July 14, 2016
  • BlueCross BlueShield 2016 National Teleconference Series - "The Final Overtime Regulations: What the New Minimum Salary Requirements Mean for Employers" - June 30, 2016
  • National Resort and Hotel - "Harassment Training" - Palm Desert - June 15, 2016
  • National Resort and Hotel - "Positive Employee Relations Training" - Palm Desert - June 15, 2016
  • National Resort and Hotel - "Labor Relations and Employment Law Update" - Scottsdale - May 23, 2016
  • Arizona Hospitality Human Resource Association - "Employment Law in 2016 and Beyond" - Scottsdale - May 20, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "The Wacky World of Employment Law" - Chicago - May 5, 2016
  • National Insurance Brokerage - "Harassment Training" - Tempe - April 22, 2016
  • LEAP 2016 – The 12th Annual Labor and Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium - "The Most Bizarre Employment Law Cases of 2015" - Las Vegas - March 17, 2016
  • Arizona State Physicians Association - "Employment Law Changes in 2016 and Beyond" - Phoenix - February 11, 2016
  • Ogletree Deakins California Law & Cabernet Seminar - "The Most Bizarre Employment Cases of 2015-California Style" - Napa - February 11, 2016
  • Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association - "Background Checks" - Phoenix - February 10, 2016
  • SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference - "Employment Law Changes in 2016 and Beyond" - Phoenix - February 5, 2016
  • Human Resources Executive Summit and Retreat for Arizona 2016 - "Employment Law Changes in 2016 and Beyond" - Litchfield - January 25, 2016
  • Anthem Community Council - "Employment Law Update" - Anthem - November 16, 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Corporate Labor & Employment Counsel Exclusive - "You Make the Call – Employment and Labor Law Style" - Phoenix - November 12, 2015
  • Arizona Hospital - "Labor Relations and Employment Law Update" - Yuma - October 27, 2015
  • Arizona Hospital - "Labor Relations and Employment Law Update" - Yuma - October 26, 2015
  • National REIT - "2015 Harassment Prevention Training" - Scottsdale - October 8, 2015
  • National REIT - "2015 Harassment Prevention Training" - Santa Monica - October 1, 2015
  • Managing a Workforce in 2016 - "Wacky Cases of 2014-2015!" - Scottsdale - September 24, 2015
  • Arizona Hospitality Human Resource Association - "Hospitality Alert: What to Watch for as Disability Access Litigation Explodes" - Scottsdale - September 16, 2015
  • Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association - "Hospitality Alert: What to Watch for as Disability Access Litigation Explodes" - Scottsdale - September 16, 2015
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Arizona Chapter - "Noncompete Agreements-One Size Does Not Fit All" - Phoenix - September 9, 2015
  • Vistage Group - "Employment Law Update" - Scottsdale - September 9, 2015
  • Maricopa County Bar Association - "It’s Hard to Say Goodbye: Top Tips for Resolving Employment Disputes" - Phoenix - September 8, 2015
  • Arizona State SHRM Conference - "Legal Update Panel" - Chandler - August 28, 2015
  • Arizona Hospitality Human Resource Association - "Employee Relations Training" - Phoenix - July 2015
  • Arizona Resort - "Employee Relations Training" - Phoenix - July 2015
  • Arizona Resort - "Union Awareness Training" - Scottsdale - July 2015
  • National Healthcare Provider - "Labor and Employment Law Training" - Phoenix - July 2015
  • Arizona State Bar Conference Labor and Employment Section - "Employment Law Update: Strange, But True" - Phoenix - June 1, 2015
  • National Golf Course Management Company - "Eye on Employment Law" - Wild Horse Pass Resort - May 1, 2015
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "The Wacky World of Employment Law" - San Antonio - May 2015
  • LEAP 2015 – The 11th Annual Labor & Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium - "Background Checks - Legal Compliance and Best Practices" - Las Vegas - April 30, 2015
  • 2015 Blue Cross National Summit - "Redefining Employee Relations: Hot Topics in Employment Law" - Phoenix - April 2015
  • Enterprise University - "Your Employee Handbooks: Shield or Weapon?" - Phoenix - April 2015
  • LEAP 2015 – The 11th Annual Labor & Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium - "The Most Bizarre Employment Law Cases of 2014" - Las Vegas - April 2015
  • National Financial Services Company - "2015 Harassment Training" - Scottsdale - April 2015
  • National Healthcare Provider - "Employment Law 101 and FLSA Training" - Phoenix - April 2015
  • National Resort and Hotel - "Management Workshop" - Tempe - April 2015
  • Arizona Casino - "Recent NLRB Updates" - Phoenix - March 2015
  • California & Cabernet - "The Most Bizarre Employment Cases of 2014-California Version" - Napa - February 2015
  • SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference - "You Make the Call Employment Law Trivia" - Phoenix - February 2015
  • SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference - "Washington Watch – A Continuing Challenge for Employers" - Phoenix - February 2015
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Arizona Chapter - "Legal Compliance Issues for Managing Complex Leaves Under the FMLA, ADA and Local Laws" - Phoenix - January 8, 2015
  • National Hotel Company - "You Make the Call - Employment Law Trivia" - Rancho Palos Verdes - January 7, 2015
  • National Resort and Hotel - "You Make the Call Employment Law" - Palos Verdes - January 2015
  • Legal Share Group - "Hot Topics in Employment Law" - Scottsdale - November 19, 2014
  • Managing a Workforce in 2015 - "The Wacky World of Employment Law" - Indianapolis - October 9, 2014
  • Association of Corporate Counsel (Arizona Chapter) CLE Program - "Out and Equal at Work: LGBT Workplace Issues" - Phoenix - September 4, 2014
  • National Developer - "Preventing Harassment in the Workplace" - Scottsdale - June 19, 2014
  • Arizona Casino - "NLRA, NLRB" - Phoenix - June 10, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Strategies Seminar - "Wackiest Cases - 2014" - Las Vegas - May 7 - 9, 2014
  • Managing a Workforce in 2015 - "Eye on Employment Law" - Tucson - April 10, 2014
  • The Hospitality HR Association - "Top Ten Tips for Effective Workplace Investigations" - Phoenix - April 9, 2014
  • Ogletree Deakins California & Cabernet - "The Most Bizarre Employment Cases of 2013 - California Edition" - Napa - March 27, 2014
  • LEAP 2014 - The 10th Annual Labor & Employment Law Advanced Practices Symposium - "The Most Bizarre Employment Law Cases of 2013" - Las Vegas - March 12 - 14, 2014
  • Enterprise University - "Emerging Social Media and Personnel Policy Risks for Employers" - Phoenix - March 11, 2014
  • SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference - "Effective Advocacy - With Regulators and At Work" - Phoenix - February 27, 2014
  • SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference - "Wacky Cases of 2013-2014" - Phoenix - February 26, 2014
  • SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference - "Washington Watch - A New and Challenging Dynamic for Employers" - Phoenix - February 26, 2014
  • Regional Medical Center - "Labor and Employment Law 101" - Yuma - November 25 - 26, 2013
  • National REIT - "Harassment Prevention Training" - Santa Monica - November 19, 2013
  • National REIT - "Harassment Prevention Training" - Phoenix - November 13, 2013
  • Northeast Valley HR Association - "Hot Topics Legal Panel and Open Forum" - Scottsdale - November 6, 2013
  • 47th Annual Lawyers' Conference (National Health Care) - "Employment Law Update" - Phoenix - October 29, 2013
  • National Resort and Hotel - "Harassment Training" - Palm Desert - October 22 - November 5, 2013
  • Lawdragon Most Powerful Employment Lawyer
  • Lawyer of the Year Joe Clees 2017
  • Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Ranked in Chambers USA
  • The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers Logo
  • Top 100 Most Powerful Labor & Employment Lawyers – Lawdragon/HRE Leading Corporate Employment Lawyers Guide (2017-2018)
  • Top Rated Lawyers Arizona’s Legal Leaders – The Arizona Republic (2015)
  • Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona – Arizona Business Magazine (2015-2018)
  • Who’s Who Legal: Management, Labour & Employment (2015-2017)
  • Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers (2003-2017)
  • Leader in the Field Chambers USA (2011-2014)
  • Eminent Practitioner – Chambers USA (2014 – 2015)
  • 100 Most Powerful Employment Lawyers in America – HR Executive Magazine (2009-2019)
  • Arizona’s Finest Lawyers
  • Arizona Business Leader – Arizona Business Magazine (2019, 2020)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2006-present)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Phoenix Employment Law – Management Lawyer of the Year (2013)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Phoenix Labor Law – Management Lawyer of the Year (2017)
  • Legal 500: Labor and Employment – Labor & Employment Litigation
  • “Top Attorneys in Arizona” – Arizona Business Magazine
  • Arizona Business Leader – Arizona Business Magazine (2013)
  • Top Lawyers List 2014: Employment/Labor Relations – Arizona Business Magazine
  • “2013 Guide to World-Class Employment Lawyers” – LawDragon
  • “Best of the Bar” – Phoenix Business Journal (2004)
  • Southwest Super Lawyers (2007 – present)
  • Top 50 Southwest Super Lawyers (2010-2015)
  • AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell (1999-present)
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (2014)

Insights by Joseph T. Clees