Nossaman Litigation Partner Robert Adler Featured in Washingtonian For His Pioneering Work On Sexual Harassment Matters


Nossaman Litigation Practice Partner Robert Adler was prominently featured in a Washingtonian article (The First Silence Breaker) which detailed his representation of Sandra Bundy. Mr. Adler brought a lawsuit in the late 1970’s on Ms. Bundy’s behalf.  In it, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals established, for the first time in this country, that there was unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII when there was a hostile work environment.  Prior cases held that sex discrimination could be established only when there was a quid pro quo - - the promise of tangible job benefits in exchange for sexual favors.  The plethora of recent sexual harassment claims, which have received widespread media attention, have largely been hostile work environment cases.  

Referring to when he first took Ms. Bundy’s case, Mr. Adler said I had no optimism that we were going to win this thing, because we were really in uncharted waters.  But I didn’t care. But Ms. Bundy’s lawsuit and Mr. Adler’s work in the area went on to become watershed events. What [was] so significant about the case was finding the sexual harassment itself—the doing of it—was sex discrimination…That was world-changing, said Catharine MacKinnon, a University of Michigan law professor who is perhaps the leading scholar in this area.  

The article closes by noting that Mr. Adler continues to practice law as a partner in Nossaman’s Washington, DC office.

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