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 (2019-2021)

Memberships and Affiliations

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

Firm Highlights

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...

Read More
Publication

Equal Pay Data Reporting, An Asset for the Strategic Employer

Holly Sutton with Farella Braun + Martel, and co-speaker Erin Hastings with Seiler, discuss "Equal Pay Data Reporting, an Asset for the Strategic Employer." California’s recently passed SB973 requires certain employers to collect and...

Read More
Publication

The Election Season Is Upon Us: Guidance for Managing Political Expression in the California Workplace

In a year of extraordinary events, this election has been more divisive and controversial than any other in recent history. Many employers are grappling with how they should manage political expression in the workplace...

Read More
Publication

Law Updates for California Employers: COVID Sick Leave Obligations, Meal-Period Rules, COBRA Benefits

New legislation and a recent court decision have significant implications for California employers. Certain California employers must now provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees who miss work for specified reasons related to the...

Read More
News

Employers Deal With Workers’ Lost Vaccination Cards

Holly Sutton was interviewed by SHRM for the article, "Employers Deal With Workers’ Lost Vaccination Cards." Read the article here .

Read More
Publication

California Employers Face Various New Laws in January 2021

The California Legislature passed and Governor Newsom signed several new laws covering topics ranging from COVID-19 to leaves of absence to data reporting. Most of these laws take effect January 1, so now is a...

Read More
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...

Read More