Deputy Executive Director

(202) 869-3287
Washington, D.C.

Areas of Expertise

Economic and Workforce Development • Enforcement of Workplace Standards • Immigrants and Work • Living Wage and Minimum Wage


Rajesh D. Nayak returned to NELP as director of research in 2017 after spending seven years serving in senior roles in the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor, most recently as deputy chief of staff to Secretary Tom Perez. In December 2017, Raj transitioned into the role of deputy executive director.

In that role, Raj advised the Secretary on the department’s workforce development, worker protection, and counter-trafficking efforts, and led the Department’s employee engagement and innovation efforts. Previously, as deputy assistant secretary for policy, he managed the department’s ambitious regulatory agenda, helping to enact landmark rules advancing workers’ rights to overtime pay, health and safety, and retirement security. As senior counsel to the Solicitor of Labor, Raj helped overhaul the department’s enforcement of workplace protections and coordination with state regulatory agencies.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Raj worked as an attorney with NELP and with the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. In both positions, he supported campaigns around the country to raise the minimum wage and expand the coverage and enforcement of workplace protections. Raj also completed an Equal Justice Works fellowship at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago, where he represented families living in public housing and seeking a seat at the table in the Chicago Housing Authority’s redevelopment process.

At NELP, Raj leads a team building a cross-cutting research program that will strengthen NELP’s existing campaigns and help develop new policy models for an evolving economy and labor market.


J.D., Yale Law School

A.B., University of Chicago

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