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, HR.com Legal, Compliance and Employment Law Advisory Board (2023)
  • 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

Employment Law Symposium Recordings & Articles

Employers Face Significant New Requirements for Severance Agreements and Non-Competes  (Recording) Conducting Effective, Defensible Investigations (With Lessons Learned from Summary Judgment & Trial)  (Recording) California Employment Law Updates: What to Look Out for in...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Welcomes Benjamin Buchwalter to Growing Employment Group

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Publication

California Employment Law Updates: What to Look Out for in 2024

Farella's 2024 Employment Law Symposium provided invaluable insights that will keep you and your talent team at the forefront of California employment law trends. The Symposium offered a unique chance to deepen your understanding of new...

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Publication

Navigating California's New Rebuttable Presumption Law

The ever-evolving landscape of employment laws in California has introduced a notable change with the implementation of a new law that establishes a rebuttable presumption of retaliation in some circumstances. This law, which took...

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Publication

Employment Law Update for Nonprofits With Holly Sutton

Welcome to  EO Radio Show - Your Nonprofit Legal Resource . Charities, foundations, and their founders often request help addressing employment practices and compliance questions. In this episode, host Cynthia Rowland is joined by Holly...

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Publication

Important Changes and the Impact of California Industry-Specific Minimum Wage Laws

In the ever-evolving landscape of California labor laws, the minimum wage has once again taken center stage. With the recent state-wide increase to $16 per hour, the Golden State continues to lead the nation...

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Publication

Navigating California's Workplace Violence Prevention Law

California has introduced a new requirement compelling most employers to implement a workplace violence prevention policy by July 1, 2024. The implications of this law are significant, prompting the need for human resource executives...

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Publication

Navigating California's Evolving Legal Landscape Governing Leaves of Absence

California’s employment laws are no stranger to change, and recent years have witnessed the introduction or modification of various protected leaves by employees. In this article, we will delve into three significant leave categories...

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Publication

Navigating Cannabis in the Workplace: A Guide for California Corporations

The landscape surrounding cannabis in the workplace is rapidly evolving, posing challenges for California corporations and businesses to establish effective policies and procedures. As the use of cannabis, both medical and recreational, becomes more...

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Publication

Employers Face Significant New Requirements for Severance Agreements and Non-Competes

Farella's 2024 Employment Law Symposium provided invaluable insights that will keep you and your talent team at the forefront of California employment law trends. The Symposium offered a unique chance to deepen your understanding of new...

Read More