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)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Employment Rights & Responsibilities Committee, ABA Labor &  Employment Law Section

Firm Highlights

Publication

Coronavirus and the Workplace: Is Your Business Prepared?

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) implicates numerous legal obligations for employers, including leave, medical privacy, and discrimination. Employers should prepare to implement policies that strike a balance between ensuring safety and fostering...

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Event

14th Annual ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference

Holly Sutton is a panelist on the 14th Annual ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference live webinar, "Political Speech at Work: What is Fair and What is Foul." Details: Some believe that...

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Publication

Families First Coronavirus Response Act - Posting Requirement for Employers

The recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees to post a notice by April 1 summarizing the benefits available to employees under the FFCRA. For employers...

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Publication

Unlimited Vacation Policies Present Potential Pitfalls for California Employers

As unlimited vacation policies increase in popularity, California employers must be careful to avoid legal pitfalls in drafting and implementation. In the first California appellate decision to address unlimited vacation policies, the court held that...

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Publication

Use Caution When Laying off Employees Without a Return to Work Date

Employers who have laid off workers in recent weeks due to the shelter-in-place orders should be aware of little-known requirements regarding final paychecks.  Even if employees are being furloughed with the expectation of returning to...

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Publication

7 Tips for Creating a COVID-19 Essential Business Travel Policy

As states are relaxing COVID-19-related restrictions, employers should remain cautious about business travel. California’s public health orders still limit travel to an “urgent matter” or that which is “essential to your permitted work.” Given...

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Publication

Coronavirus and the Workplace: Guidance for Employers Resuming Operations

As states and localities begin to relax shelter-in-place requirements and allow businesses to reopen, the coronavirus pandemic presents new challenges for employers. In addition to operational and logistical questions surrounding reopening, employers must navigate...

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Publication

Coronavirus and the Workplace: Key Legal Updates for Employers

With the spread of COVID-19 and the rapidly evolving federal, state, and local government response, it can be difficult for employers to keep up with their rights and obligations. This week, California’s Governor Gavin...

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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 Expands Family and Medical Leave Law to Cover Small Employers

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed SB 1383, which expands employees’ leave entitlements under California’s Family Rights Act and New Parent Leave Act. Effective January 1, 2021, these leave provisions will apply to employers with...

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