John S. Adler - Littler Mendelson P.C.

John S. Adler

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2013
Phone: 619-515-1807

John S. Adler has an established practice in employment litigation, with extensive first chair state and federal court jury and non-jury trial experience in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, pay practices, civil rights and breach of contract claims. His practice also includes federal and state court appellate advocacy and oral arguments in complex employment matters, defense of contested claims in arbitrations, mediations and administrative hearings, and ongoing counseling of employers regarding workplace practices and discipline.

John counts both Fortune 500 companies and major public employers among his clients, which span the following industries:

  • Higher education
  • Biotechnology
  • Military defense
  • Professional services
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Non-profit

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:

  • Title VII
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act
  • 42 U.S.C. Sections 1981 and 1983
  • The Fair Employment and Housing Act
  • California and federal wage and hour laws

Additionally, John provides workplace layoff, disciplinary and termination counseling.

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. In March, 2012, after five years of litigation, John 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 December 2012, John was lead trial counsel for a pharmacy chain client in a San Diego Superior Court wrongful termination, FEHA sexual harassment and retaliation, and battery case.  He obtained a complete defense verdict following a six-day jury trial.

Additionally, as examples, John has obtained defense summary judgments or dismissals of litigation without payment of compensation in:

  • A sexual harassment and constructive discharge case
  • A disability discrimination case
  • Several Fair Employment and Housing Act cases, including a multi-plaintiff FEHA suit
  • A whistleblower/retaliatory discharge case
  • A retaliatory discharge/FEHA case, in which he also obtained a defense verdict in a related five-day union contract arbitration

John worked as an adjunct professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law teaching employment litigation from 1988 to 2008.

Prior to working at Littler Mendelson, John represented employees and employers for more than 25 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. He also served for ten years with the California Army National Guard, including three years as a Military Judge.  John 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.

New York UniversityMA Case Western Reserve UniversityAB Case Western Reserve UniversityMA University of San Diego School of LawJ.D.
American Arbitration Association

Case History

Other Court Admissions

  • 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
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

Office Location

501 West Broadway, Suite 900
San Diego, CA 92101
United States


Practice Areas

Employment Law - Management
Labor Law - Management