EXPERT  WITNESS

Sandler has been an expert witness in nearly thirty cases about sex discrimination and/or sexual harassment in the general workplace and in educational institutions.  Several cases have involved tenure decisions in educational institutions, others have involved administrators, faculty members and students.  Cases have involved professionals and non-professionals in the workforce.

As an expert witness Sandler consults with attorneys, analyzes patterns of discrimination and sexual harassment, writes comprehensive reports, gives depositions and testifies at trial.

Her experience as a consultant to management and her general experience with these issues give her a unique view of both parties in lawsuits.

In addition to cases involving educational institutions, she has been an expert witness in cases against the Watergate Hotel, Skytel Corporation, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police, U.S. Post Office, Monroe County (GA) School District and the U.S. Department of State.

A list of employment discrimination, tenure and sexual harassment cases in which Sandler participated is available upon request.

Sandler's article on expert witnessers appears below.


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10 Ways Expert Witnesses Can Be Used in Sex Discrimination And Sexual Harassment Cases

Dr. Bernice R. Sandler
Senior Scholar In Residence
Women's Research and Education Institute
Washington, DC

1.  Counteract myths and stereotypes about women in general and about harassment and discrimination that may be held by judges and jurors.

Help anticipate damaging and inaccurate explanations for the plaintiff's behavior that the jurors and/or the judge might develop.  Help develop strategies to neutralize these views.

2.  Explain dynamics of discriminatory behavior.  For example, explain how sexual harassment is based on power rather than on sexuality.

3.  Justify actions of plaintiff, such as why she didn't complain about sexual harassment earlier, why she didn't say no, why she remained friendly with the harasser, or how her behavior may have been typical of people who have been harassed.

4.  Validate the impact of discrimination and harassment on the plaintiff by discussing the typical impact of such behavior.

5.  Put actions of plaintiff and defendant into a larger context.  For example, there is research which shows that women are often devalued by men (and other women).  Thus, lower job evaluations might reflect devaluation rather than merit.

Similarly, the same behavior in a woman, such as assertiveness, may be viewed as valuable when engaged in by a man, but seen as negative--"pushy," "abrasive," etc.-- in a woman.  Women's credentials and accomplishments may be devaluated, overlooked or denigrated ("She is an affirmative action hire.")

6.  Unify seemingly disparate behaviors and incidents into a coherent pattern of discriminatory or sexually harassing behaviors.  For example, complimenting a woman only on her appearance, coupled with a lack of feedback, can suggest that stereotypes and devaluation are at play.  The woman is viewed in her social role (appearance) and thus may not be worthy of getting feedback.
7.  Explain how even "nice guys" can harass and discriminate.  Many people believe that harassers are gross; therefore, a defendant who is pleasant may be seen as incapable of harassment.

8.  Explain how the defendant's rationale or behaviors may be typical of discriminatory or harassing behaviors.  For example, women may be fired or not promoted because of "personality problems."  Yet, personality issues may never have been listed in job criteria; men with similar "problems" may not be fired or seen as being "problems," and the "problems" attributed to the woman may be spurious.  Indeed the woman may not have received any feedback about her behavior.  The expert witness can explain how this is not uncommon in discrimination cases.

9.  Evaluate whether the procedures used (recruiting hiring, promotion, evaluation, firing, etc.) are inequitable or have a disparate impact on women.

Similarly, sexual harassment policies and programs can be analyzed to determine their adequacy and the effectiveness of how complaints were handled.

10.  Describe the double jeopardy experienced by women of color.


©  Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Reporter, March 1997.



Dr. Sandler trains administrators, supervisors, employees and students about sexual harassment and often serves as an expert witness, analyzing policies, and responses to discrimination and sexual harassment.


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Bernice R. Sandler, Senior Scholar in Residence at the Women's Research and Education Institute, consults extensively with institutions and others about women's equity, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and the chilly climate. She has given over 2500 presentations, written many articles, and serves as an expert witness in discrimination cases. Sandler can be contacted at:

Bernice R. Sandler
Senior Scholar, Women's Research and Education Institute
1350 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 850, Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202 833 3331   Fax: 202 785 5605
E-mail: sandler@bernicesandler.com
Website: bernicesandler.com