Biography

Holly Sutton guides businesses, compensation committees, and boards in managing the critical employment matters they face, with an eye toward both practical solutions and risk management. A theoretically flawless solution that is unworkable is of no value—Holly provides approaches that work in the real business world in which her clients operate. In this role, she frequently advises on policies or measures at the planning stage—proactive involvement in employment issues is almost always preferable to devising responses ex post facto. Holly is the chair of Farella's Employment Practice.

Holly counsels clients on the design and implementation of employment policies and practices to minimize the risk of employment litigation, and ensure compliance with applicable law. Specific areas in which Holly advises her clients include personnel policies, wage and hour laws, EEO compliance, hiring and termination practices, harassment and discrimination investigations, non-competition clauses, conflict of interest, and trade secret matters. She has worked with clients in a range of industries, including media, insurance, wine, agriculture, technology, retail, banking, construction, manufacturing, cannabis, and professional services.

By developing innovative strategies that are grounded in her deep knowledge of employment law, yet carefully tailored to each client’s individual circumstances, Holly helps her clients navigate particularly high-risk scenarios and challenging situations, including reductions in force, realignment of workforces, mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. 

Holly provides carefully tailored advice, focusing on the specific and unique facts of each situation, and partners with her clients to develop strategies that best protect against claims and disruptions, while working within the realities of day-to-day operation.

In addition to employment-related counseling, Holly also defends clients in wrongful termination and employment discrimination actions, including claims for race, age, sex, disability, and pregnancy discrimination. She has advocated in state and federal courts as well as various administrative forums, including single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff, and class action matters.

She has also defended cases involving trade secrets, accommodation, and employee solicitation issues. She has extensive experience in all facets of contractual arbitration, and has defended government investigations, resulting in dismissal of claims.

An essential part of her role as a trusted advisor on employment matters is ensuring that her clients are kept abreast of the latest developments in employment law— an ever-changing field. She’s a frequent speaker, author, panelist, and media source, and in addition to advising on the current state of the law, frequently counsels on upcoming changes and trends that will affect her client’s business, strategy and workforce. For example, the gig economy freelancing and contract employees present unique employment challenges. By staying ahead of trends in business, Holly helps her clients compete and succeed as well.

Distinctions

  • Labor & Employment Star, Benchmark Litigation (2019-2023)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Employment Rights & Responsibilities Committee, ABA Labor &  Employment Law Section
  • Member, American Employment Law Council (2022)
  • Co-chair, ABA Labor & Employment Law Newsletter (2022)
  • Member, Stanford Law School, Deborah L. Rhode Center on the Legal Profession,  Advisory Forum

Firm Highlights

Publication

Survey of Pay Disclosure Laws Across the Country

There has been a wave of new state and local legislation focused on pay transparency for job applicants. Right now, Colorado State and Jersey City are the only jurisdictions that require employers to provide...

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News

New Law Will Expand Pay Transparency Requirements in California

Holly Sutton and Hillary Marks spoke to The Recorder about California's pay transparency act, SB 1162, for the article "New Law Will Expand Pay Transparency Requirements in California." Read the article here  (subscription required...

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Publication

What California’s Pay Transparency Law May Mean for You

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a new pay transparency act that will require significant changes in how employers draft job postings and how they report pay data to the state. Given the scope...

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Publication

California’s Pay Transparency Act (SB 1162) – Are You Prepared?

This week the California legislature passed a pay transparency act that – pending Governor Newsom’s signature – will require significant changes in how employers draft job postings and how they report pay data to...

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Publication

New Laws and Compliance Updates for California Employers in 2023

California has passed several new or amended employment laws covering topics ranging from off-duty marijuana use, reproductive rights, California Family Rights Act, COVID-19, criminal law and the workplace, new avenues of enforcement against employers...

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Publication

New California Bill Requires Employers to Offer Bereavement Leave

AB 1949 , a bill passed by the California legislature and awaiting Governor Newsom’s signature, would require California employers to offer five days of bereavement leave to employees each time they lose a spouse...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Recognized in Benchmark Litigation 2023

Farella Braun + Martel continues to be ranked among the top litigation firms in California in the  Benchmark Litigation  2023 guide. Farella was ranked “Highly Recommended” for Dispute Resolution in California and earned a...

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Publication

California Extends Presumption of COVID-19 as Workers’ Compensation Injury and Modifies Notice Requirements for Potential Exposure

In addition to AB 152 extending COVID-19 leave through December 31, 2022 , Governor Gavin Newsom has also signed into law two other COVID-related bills—AB 1751 and AB 2693—affecting employers’ policies regarding employees who...

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Event

Wage Transparency: Current and Future Requirements for Employers

Holly Sutton is speaking at the session "Wage Transparency: Current and Future Requirements for Employers" at HR West's 2023 conference. Session Overview: The session will address the current wage transparency posting and reporting requirements for California employers and related...

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Publication

California Extends COVID-19 Leave Through December 31, 2022

Governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB 152 into law, extending Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”) through December 31, 2022. SPSL, which requires California employers with over 26 employees to provide up to 80 hours paid...

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