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 – West, Benchmark Litigation (2019)

Firm Highlights

Publication

New California Crown Act Reminds Employers to Carefully Consider Workplace Dress and Grooming Policies

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law the nation’s first bill banning discrimination based on an employee’s hairstyle. Senate Bill 188, otherwise known as the Crown Act, expanded the definition of race under...

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Publication

New Laws for California Employers in 2020

The California Legislature and Governor Newsom have passed a sizable list of new laws governing the workplace in 2020. Employers are, once again, advised to evaluate their workplace rules and practices to insure they keep...

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Publication

California's AB5 Codifies Stricter Rules for Independent Contractors - What Wine Industry Employers Need to Know

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law AB5, codifying a new test for distinguishing employees from independent contractors. While AB5 does not go into effect until January 1, 2020, it will apply retroactively...

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Publication

What Employers Should Know About the California Consumer Privacy Act Taking Effect January 1, 2020

On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a consumer-friendly privacy law inspired by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, is set to take effect. The CCPA is aimed towards bolstering...

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Publication

California’s New Ban on Mandatory Employment Arbitration: How We Got Here and What This Means

All employers should be aware that their use of mandatory employment arbitration agreements is prohibited in California effective January 1, 2020 under recently signed Assembly Bill No. 51 (AB 51). Under current California law...

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Publication

California's AB5 Codifies Stricter Rules for Independent Contractors - What Employers Need to Know

On September 18, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB5, codifying the ABC test for distinguishing employees from independent contractors and expanding its application beyond California’s Wage Orders. While AB5 does not...

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Publication

Are You Background Checking Your Contractors? If So, Exercise Caution.

Employers who use background checks in their hiring processes are likely aware of the various requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and analogous state statutes. They must provide clear disclosures and obtain...

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Publication

California Employers Granted a One-Year Reprieve on New Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training Deadline

If you are scrambling to comply with the new California sexual harassment training requirements, we have some good news: with some exceptions, employers have another year to put those plans in place. Under prior law...

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