John S. Adler has an established practice in employment litigation, with extensive first chair state and federal court jury and bench trial experience in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, pay practices, civil rights, defamation and free speech, and breach of contract claims.
His practice also includes federal and state court appellate advocacy and numerous first-chair oral appellate arguments in complex employment matters, the defense of contested claims in arbitrations, mediations and administrative hearings, and ongoing counseling and working with employers regarding workplace practices, workforce restructuring including The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and Cal-WARN Act compliance, problem-solving and discipline.
He litigates wage and hour class actions, cases involving workplace assault, First Amendment issues and unfair competition, and bargaining agreement enforcement for public entities. He also handles matters arising under :
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- The Family and Medical Leave Act
- The Fair Employment and Housing Act
John’s substantial litigation successes include obtaining defense verdicts in many jury and bench trials and arbitration proceedings, including cases involving claims of unpaid compensation, retaliatory/whistleblower termination, harassment, discrimination and the Equal Pay Act, and sexual assault and negligent hiring.
He has also successfully prevented injunctive relief and damages sought in unfair competition and trade secret litigation. Recently, following several years of litigation, he obtained a complete defense verdict for a major national client following a two week federal court jury trial in a national origin/race discrimination and whistleblower case.
In 2016, he was lead trial counsel in a ten-week California state court wage and hour class action trial. The trial had both jury and non-jury issues, and ended with a very successful result for our client. In another recent matter, he was lead trial counsel for a pharmacy chain client in a state court wrongful termination, FEHA sexual harassment and retaliation, and battery case and obtained a complete defense verdict following a six-day jury trial.
In a matter concluded in June 2015, he was lead counsel obtaining a complete defense verdict in Arizona federal court for a major national company in a twenty cause of action False Claims Act, whistleblower wrongful termination and defamation case, which also included the award and recovery of over $100,000.00 in fees and costs by Littler’s client.
In a 2014 matter, John was lead counsel obtaining a complete defense award following a four-day state court arbitration hearing for a publicly-held national company in a matter alleging harassment and retaliation.
John was an adjunct professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law teaching employment litigation for that entire period, and teaching sports law for part of that time.
Prior to working at Littler Mendelson, John represented employees and employers for more than 20 years as a solo practitioner with a litigation and trial practice focused on employment and labor law. Early in his career, he handled numerous federal court criminal defense matters, including jury trials.
John served for ten years with the California Army National Guard, including three years as a Military Judge. He was awarded the State of California Commendation Ribbon with Pendant for conduct as Military Judge while serving as a Captain with the California Army National Guard, 40th Inf. Div. (M). In law school, he was a member of the Law Review and the Honor Court.
- J.D., University of San Diego School of Law
- M.A., New York University
- M.A., Case Western Reserve University
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California
Professional & Community Affiliations :
- Member, Board of Directors, American Heart Association, San Diego Chapter, 2004-2012
- Member, Board of Directors, San Diego County Bar Foundation, 2009-2012
- Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association, 1986-present
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